Primer on Fiber Optic Data Communications for the Premises Environment

by

 

Dr. Kenneth S. Schneider

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

1. Introduction
    
1.1 The Fundamental Problem of Communication
    1.2 The Transmission Medium - Attenuation Constraints
    1.3 The Transmission Medium - Interference Constraints
    1.4 The Transmission Medium - Bandwidth Constraints
    1.5 The Transmission Medium - Cost Constraints
    1.6 Attractiveness of Fiber Optic Cable As A Premises Transmission Medium
    1.7 Program

2. The Fiber Optic Data Communications Link For the Premises Environment
    2.1 The Fiber Optic Data Communications Link, End-to-End
    2.2 Fiber Optic Cable
    2.3 Transmitter
    2.4 Receiver
    2.5 Connectors
    2.6 Splicing
    2.7 Analyzing Performance of a Link

3. Exploiting The Bandwidth Of Fiber Optic Cable-Employment by Multiple Users
    3.1 Sharing the Transmission Medium
    3.2 Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) With Fiber Optic Cable
    3.3 Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) With Fiber Optic Cable
    3.4 Comparing Multiplexing Techniques for the Premises Environment

4. Exploiting The Delay Properties Of Fiber Optic Cable For LAN Extension
    4.1 Brief History of Local Area Networks
    4.2 Transmission Media Used To Implement An Ethernet LAN
    4.3 Examining the Distance Constraint
    4.4 Examples of LAN Extenders Shown In Typical Applications

5. Exploiting The Advantages Of Fiber Optic Cable In the Industrial Environment
    5.1 Data Communications In The Industrial Environment
    5.2 The Problem of Interference
    5.3 Fiber Optic Data Communications Products That can Help

6. Serial Data Communications Over Fiber Optic Cable

7. Standards

8. Glossary

Bibliography

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The idea for writing a monograph on the subject of fiber optic data communications was proposed to me many times by my assistant, Gail Nelson.

The material in this work was derived from my constant perusal of many diverse sources spread over my years in engineering. I apologize for not providing a precise acknowledgment of every source. However, it would have led to a clutter of footnotes. I know that this often makes for tedious reading and did not want to burden the reader. Nonetheless, I would not feel comfortable unless specific credit is given to those publications listed as 'References.' If, on occasion, I paraphrased any of these works too closely it should be taken in the most complimentary manner.

Pat O'Hara assisted me in taking a typed manuscript and putting it in final form complete with graphics, photographs and other illustrations. Pat carries out this task for all of my publications. She never complains when I come to her with last minute changes. Her cooperation is really appreciated. I can truthfully say this work would not have been completed without her assistance. Note to Pat, we'll soon begin another effort.

Thanks to Doug Honikel for having incorporated this onto our website.

Tony Horber and Bob Ravenstein (Bomara, Inc.) checked the work for technical accuracy. This was a particularly stressful task especially when it led to protracted discussions on certain points. I am indebted to them for their efforts.

Professor Nicholas DeClaris first introduced me to communications engineering while I was an undergraduate at Cornell University. Professor DeClaris, now of the University of Maryland, inspired me with his love for teaching and research. Dr. Irvin Stiglitz later sharpened my communications engineering and technical writing skills while he was my Group Leader at M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory. Needless to say, it is a lot easier to reach Irv's high standards these days with word processing.

Thanks to Lightwave Magazine and MRV Communications for use of the illustration for the cover.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Diane, my children Andrew, Jessica and Rachel, my mother and father, Lillian and Irving Schneider and my, close, life long, friends Seth Stowell, Jamil Sopher and Joel Goldman. In different ways each gave me encouragement over the years. Without this support I would have never have reached this point.

*ST is a registered trademark of AT & T

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 The Fundamental Problem of Communications

The subject of interest in this book is premises data communications using fiber optic cable as the transmission medium. This is at once a very specific yet very extensive topic. It is an important topic both within the context of data communications today and into the future. All, or almost all, aspects of this subject will be explored. However, it seems rather forbidding just to jump into this topic.

Rather, it is more appropriate to take a step back to the very beginning and talk about the nature of communications first. This will allow some needed terminology to be introduced. It will also lead us in a natural way to the subject of fiber optic cable as a transmission medium and to why it is attractive for premises data links.

Of course, the reader, well versed in data communications, may choose to skip past this introduction and suffer no real penalty.

The subject of communications really begins with the situation shown in Figure 1-1. Here is an entity called the Source and one called the User- located remotely from the Source. The Source generates Information and the User desires to learn what this Information is.

 

Figure 1-1: Source, User pair with information



Examples of this situation are everywhere prevalent. However, our attention will only be focused on the case illustrated in Figure 1-2 where the Information is a sequence of binary digits, 0's and 1's, bits. Information in this case is termed data. Information of this type is generally associated with computers, computing type devices and peripherals-equipment shown in Figure 1-3. Limiting Information to data presents no real limitation. Voice, images, indeed most other types of Information can be processed to look like data by carrying sampling and Analog-to-Digital conversion.

 

Figure 1-2: Representations of information

 

 

Figure 1-3: Examples of sources and users generating/desiring "data"



It is absolutely impossible in the real world for the User to obtain the Information without the chance of error. These may be caused by a variety of deleterious effects that shall be discussed in the sequel.

This means that the User wanting to learn the Information- the binary sequence- must be content in learning it to within a given fidelity. The fidelity measure usually employed is the Bit Error Rate (BER). This is just the probability that a specific generated binary digit at the Source, a bit, is received in error, opposite to what it is, at the User.

There are some real questions as to how appropriate this fidelity measure is in certain applications. Nonetheless, it is so widely employed in practice, at this point, that further discussion is not warranted.

The question then arises as to how to send the binary data stream from Source to User. A Transmission Medium is employed to transport the Information from Source to User. What is a Transmission Medium?

A Transmission Medium is some physical entity. As shown in Figure 1-4 it is located between the Source and the User and it is accessible to both. The Transmission Medium has a set of properties described by physical parameters. The set of properties exists in a quiescent state. However, at least one of these properties can be stressed or disturbed at the Source end. This is accomplished by somehow imparting energy in order to stress the property. This disturbance does not stay still, but affects the parts of the Transmission Medium around it. This disturbance then travels from the Source end to the User end. Consequently, energy imparted in creating the disturbance is thereby transferred from the Source end to the User end. Finally, this disturbance or stressed property, can be sensed at the User end. It can be measured.

Figure 1-4: Source, transmission medium, user



This propagation of a disturbance by the Transmission Medium is illustrated in Figure 1-5.

What are examples of transmission media? As with types of Information there are many.

 

Figure 1-5: Disturbance traveling in transmission medium



The Transmission Medium could be air with the stressed property being the air pressure sound waves. The Transmission Medium could be an electromagnetic field set up in space by the current put on an antenna, a radio or wireless system. The Transmission Medium could be a pair of electrical conductors with the stressed property being the potential difference (the voltage) between the conductors, an electrical transmission line. The Transmission Medium could be a sheet of writing paper with the stressed property being the light-dark pattern on the paper, a letter. The Transmission Medium could be a cylindrical glass tube with the stressed property being the intensity of light in the tube, a fiber optic cable.

The Source can have a disturbance to the Transmission medium generated in sympathy to the Information, that is, generate a disturbance which varies in time exactly as the Information. This encoded disturbance will then propagate to the User. The User can then sense the disturbance and decide the identity of the Information that it represents. The process of the Source generating a disturbance in sympathy with the Information and launching it into the Transmission Medium is referred to as modulation and transmission. The process of the User sensing the received disturbance and deciding what Information it represents is referred to as reception and demodulation. The device that carries out modulation and transmission will be called in this work the Transmitter. The device that carries out reception and demodulation will be called the Receiver.

The entire situation with data communications then devolves to the model illustrated in Figure 1-6. Here the Source is generating bits as Information. The User wants to learn the identity of this Information, these bits. The entities used to get the Information from the Source to User are the Transmitter, the Transmission Medium and the Receiver. The fundamental problem of communications is to choose the terminal equipment, the Transmitter and Receiver and to choose the Transmission Medium so as to satisfy the requirements for a given Source-User pair.

 

Figure 1-6: The model which represents the fundamental problem of communications



The fundamental problem of communications is a design problem. The combination of Transmitter, Transmission Medium and Receiver is termed the communication link. Because of the limitation placed on the Information to be a sequence of bits this combination is generally referred to as a data link. The disturbance launched into the Transmission Medium by the Transmitter is usually referred to as the input data signal. The resulting disturbance at the Receiver is termed the output data signal. In the context of our discussion the fundamental problem of communications is to design a data link appropriate for connecting a given Source-User pair.

There is no fail safe cookbook way to solve this design problem and come up with the best unique solution. While there is science here there is also art. There are always alternative solutions, each with a particular twist. The twist provides some additional attractive feature to the solution. However, the feature is really peripheral to Source-User requirements.

Most exercises in obtaining the design solution usually begin with choosing a Transmission Medium to meet the general requirements of the Source-User pair. That is, the data link design process pivots on choosing the Transmission Medium. Every Transmission Medium has constraints on its operation, on its performance. It is these constraints that really decide which Transmission Medium will be employed for the data link design. It will be worthwhile discussing these constraints.

1.2 The Transmission Medium- Attenuation Constraints

Have a Transmitter launch a disturbance into a Transmission Medium. Provide an input data signal to a Transmission Medium. As it propagates down the Transmission Medium to the Receiver its amplitude will decrease, getting weaker and weaker. The disturbance, the input data signal, is said to suffer attenuation. The situation is exactly as shown in Figure 1-7.

One immediate question that can be raised is why does attenuation occur? There are several reasons. It will be worthwhile pointing out and describing two of them; spatial dispersion and loss due to heat.

Spatial dispersion can best be considered by revisiting Figure 1-7. This illustrates a one-dimensional propagation of the disturbance. However, often this disturbance may propagate in two or even three dimensions. The User/Receiver may be located in a small solid angle relative to the Source/Transmitter. The received disturbance, the output data signal, appears attenuated relative to the transmitted disturbance because in fact, it represents only a small fraction of the overall energy imparted in the disturbance when it was launched. This is exactly the situation with free space propagation of waves through an electromagnetic field transmission medium. For example, this occurs in any sort of radio transmission.

 

Figure 1-7: Input data signal attenuating as it propagates down a transmission medium



As for loss due to heat, this refers to the basic interaction of the disturbance with the material from which the Transmission Medium is comprised. As the disturbance propagates, a portion of the energy is transferred into the Transmission Medium and heats it. For a mechanical analogy to this consider rolling a ball down a cement lane. The ball is the disturbance launched into the lane that represents the Transmission Medium. As the ball rolls along it encounters friction. It loses part of its kinetic energy to heating the cement lane. The ball begins to slow down. The disturbance gets attenuated. This is the situation with using the potential difference between a pair of electrical conductors as the Transmission Medium.

Attenuation increases with the distance through the Transmission Medium. In fact, the amplitude attenuation is measured in dB/km. As propagation continues attenuation increases. Ultimately, the propagating signal is attenuated until it is at some minimal, detectable, level. That is, the signal is attenuated until it can just be sensed by the Receiver- in the presence of whatever interference is expected. The distance at which the signal reaches this minimal level could be quite significant. The Transmission Medium has to be able to deliver at least the minimal detectable level of output signal to the Receiver by the User. If it can not, communications between Source and User really can not take place.

There are some tricks to getting around this. Suppose the disturbance has been attenuated to the minimal detectable level yet it has still not arrived at the Receiver/User. The output signal at this location can then be regenerated. The signal can be boosted back up to its original energy level. It can be repeated and then continue to propagate on its way to the Receiver/User. This is shown in Figure 1-8.

 

Figure 1-8: Regenerating and repeating an attenuated signal in order to reach the user



Nonetheless, the attenuation characteristics are an item of significant consequence. The Transmission Medium selected in the design must have its attenuation characteristics matched to the Source-User separation. The lower the attenuation in dB/km the greater advantage a Transmission Medium has.
 

1.3 The Transmission Medium - Interference Constraints

Have a Transmitter launch a disturbance into a Transmission Medium. Provide an input data signal to a Transmission Medium. As it propagates down the Transmission Medium it will encounter all sorts of deleterious effects which are termed noise or interference. In the simplest example, that of one person speaking to another person, what we refer to as noise really is what we commonly understand noise to be.

What is noise/interference? It is some extraneous signal that is usually generated outside of the Transmission Medium. Somehow it gets inside of the Transmission Medium. It realizes its effect usually by adding itself to the propagating signal. Though, sometimes it may multiply the propagating signal. The term noise is generally used when this extraneous signal appears to have random amplitude parameters- like background static in AM radio. The term interference is used when this extraneous signal has a more deterministic structure-like 60-cycle hum on a TV set.

In any case, when the Receiver obtains the output signal it must make its decision about what Information it represents in the presence of this noise/interference. It must demodulate the output signal in the presence of noise/interference.

Noise/interference may originate from a variety of sources. Noise/interference may come from the signals generated by equipment located near the transmitter/transmission medium/receiver. This may be equipment that has nothing at all to do with the data link. Such equipment may be motors or air conditioners or automated tools. Noise/interference may come from atmospheric effects. It may arise from using multiple electrical grounds. Noise/interference may be generated by active circuitry in the transmitter and/or receiver. It may come from the operation of other data links.

In obtaining the design solution noise/interference makes its effect best known through the Bit Error Rate (BER). The level of noise/interference drives the BER. Of course, this can be countered by having the Transmitter inject a stronger input signal. It can be countered by having the Receiver be able to detect lower minimal level output signals. But, this comes with greater expense. It does not hide the fact that there is concern with noise/interference because of its impact on the BER.

The susceptibility to noise/interference varies from Transmission Medium to Transmission Medium. Consequently, during the design process attention has to be paid to the Source-User pair. Attention has to be directed to the application underlying the communication needed by this pair and to the BER required by this application.

The Transmission Medium must then be picked that has a noise/interference level capable of delivering the required BER.

1.4 The Transmission Medium- Bandwidth Constraints

Go back and consider the model illustrated in Figure 1-6. Suppose the input signal that the Transmitter sends into the Transmission Medium is the simple cosinusoidal signal of amplitude '1' at frequency 'fo' Hz. The output signal response to this at the Receiver is designated 'T (fo).' Now consider the cosinusoidal test input signal frequency, fo to be varied from 0 Hz on up to ¥. The resulting output signal as a function of frequency is T (fo) or suppressing the subscript- it is T (f). This is referred to as the transfer function of the Transmission Medium. Generally, the ordinate target value 'T (f)' for a given frequency 'f' is referred to as the transfer function gain- actually it is a loss- and is expressed logarithmically in dB relative to the amplitude '1' of the input signal.

One example transfer function is illustrated in Figure 1-9. This is merely an example transfer function. It is not to be understood as to be typical in any sense. It is just an example. However, it does illustrate a feature that is common in the transfer function of any Transmission Medium that can actually be obtained in the real, physical, world. The transfer function rolls off with frequency. The transfer function shown here oscillates, but the maximum value of its oscillation becomes less and less. Yet, the transfer function itself never really rolls off and becomes dead flat zero beyond a certain frequency. This roll off with frequency means that the Transmission Medium attenuates the cosinusoidal signals of the higher frequencies that are given to it as inputs. The energy of these higher frequency signals is somehow lost, usually as heat, in traversing the Transmission Medium. The greater the distance through the Transmission Medium, the more high frequency signals get attenuated. This is a consequence of the greater interaction between the propagating signals and the material comprising the Transmission Medium.

 

Figure 1-9: Example transfer function of a transmission medium



This roll off feature of the transfer function is present in every Transmission Medium regardless of how it is derived. It is present in sound waves. It is present in conductors. It is present in fiber optic cables. It is present in a phonograph record or tape. It is even present in a sheet of writing paper.

The transfer function shown rolls off with frequency. However, most of its activity, most of its area, most of its mass, most of its spread, seems to be below a certain given frequency. In this example it looks like the frequency 'F.' The frequency spread of the transfer function is referred to as its bandwidth. Of course, from what was mentioned above bandwidth decreases with the propagation distance through the Transmission Medium.

Because frequency spread is very subjective the measure of bandwidth is also subjective. When you are discussing communications with someone and they mention bandwidth it isn't such a bad idea to ask exactly how they are defining it. There is a definition in the Glossary in the back of this book. However, it is only one such definition. There are many. For example, there is the 3 dB bandwidth, mean square bandwidth, first lobe bandwidth, brick wall bandwidth and on and on. In a study carried out seventeen years ago the author easily identified over twenty-five separate definitions of bandwidth. All have validity. Whether one is meaningful or not depends upon the context, actually the application, in which it is being used. One definition may be appropriate for describing satellite communication links and another more appropriate for an FCC official considering the request for a broadcast AM radio license.

In any case, a Transmission Medium has a transfer function and the frequency spread of this transfer function is measured by the bandwidth. The bandwidth parameter has implications with respect to the performance of the data link being designed.

In order to see this consider the illustration shown in Figure 1-10. Here the Source is generating data, '0's and '1's every T seconds. Let T= 1/R, in which case the Source is generating data at R bits per second of BPS. To send this data to the User the Transmitter is generating either a positive or negative impulse every T seconds. What is an impulse? It is an infinitesimally narrow pulse, but it is infinitely high so that it has energy of '1.'

Now what comes out at the Receiver in response to the positive impulse sent at time zero to represent the binary data bit '1.' An example result is illustrated in Figure 1-11. Notice that this response out of the Transmission Medium to the input impulse is a pulse spread out in time with its center at t seconds where t is not equal to 0 seconds. This output is only an example. It can not even be called typical. However, it does indicate a property that is typical of all output signals received from the Transmission Medium. The time spreading of the output pulse is this common property. It is called time dispersion. It is a result of the finite bandwidth of the Transmission Medium. To be exact, it is due to the fact that the transfer function of the Transmission Medium- and any Transmission Medium- attenuates the higher signals.

 

Figure 1-10: Binary data from source represented by impulse train put into transmission medium by transmitter. Impulses are T seconds apart.


Look closely at the output signal pulse shown in Figure 1-11. Because it is spread in time it is going to interfere with the output pulses due to input data signals which will come after it. These are not shown in the illustration, but the implication should be clear. Likewise, these subsequent data signals will generate output pulses that will also be spread in time. Each will also interfere with the pulses coming after it and also coming before it. This type of interference is called intersymbol interference. It is not just a consequence of the input signals being impulses. An input signal, of finite duration, and of any shape will generate an output signal with time dispersion.

As the data rate from the Source increases the intersymbol interference problem gets worse and worse. Output pulses with time dispersion get squeezed next to one another. The growing level of intersymbol interference makes it harder and harder for the Receiver to demodulate these signals.

To some extent the intersymbol interference can be undone by sophisticated signal processing in the Receiver. This usually goes under the name of equalization. However, in many cases equalization still can not deliver the data from the Receiver with the BER required by the Source-User pair. In other cases, the data being generated by the Source, say R BPS, is so high that an equalizer can not be obtained fast enough to keep up with the output signals.

 

Figure 1-11: Input signal is positive impulse. Resulting output signal shows time dispersion


In considering the data link design task the first line of defense against time dispersion and intersymbol interference lies in the proper selection of the Transmission Medium. The larger the bandwidth of the Transmission Medium the fewer high frequency components will be attenuated during propagation and the smaller the time dispersion. As a result, there will be less interference between different output pulses. Make no mistake. Intersymbol interference will not disappear. It is just that it will be lessened and made more tolerable as the bandwidth gets larger. In particular, to lessen intersymbol interference the bandwidth of the Transmission Medium must get larger in relation to the Source's generated bit rate, R BPS.

The Transmission Medium must be selected to accommodate the bit rate generated by the Source. This is a critical step in the data link design effort. The Transmission Medium must have sufficient bandwidth so that it will generate tolerable intersymbol interference at the Receiver. This means selecting a Transmission Medium that has a bandwidth that is some multiple of the bit rate, R. A number of rules of thumb are often used to do this. However, they are too specific and not worth discussing at this point especially since the measure of bandwidth is subjective.

The important point is that as the data rate requirement, R, goes up, this limits the selection of Transmission Medium candidates. It limits the selection to those with bandwidths matched to it.

The information technology explosion in the world has made this selection task ever more challenging. Continuously, PCs are becoming more powerful. More complex applications programs can be run and are finding their way into easily usable software. As a result, the Source bit rate requirement is growing at an order of magnitude every few years. To put this in perspective, consider that just ten years ago a Transmission Medium would be quite acceptable if it had a bandwidth matched to a Source bit rate of 9,600 BPS. This Source bit rate was typical of that generated by most data equipment applications. Today with the growing demand for video services and the plethora of graphics in computer applications the demand more often than not is for a Transmission Medium with a bandwidth matched to Source bit rates well upwards of 1 MBPS, possibly 1 GBPS.

1.5 the Transmission Medium - Cost Constraints

You may be able to find the ideal Transmission Medium relative to attenuation, interference and bandwidth. But, you still may not be able to select it as part of the solution to the data link design problem. Why? It simply costs too much. The expense that it presents is beyond the budget allowed for the Source-User communications.

This isn't anything new or revolutionary. Money doesn't drive the world. But, it sure has a tremendous influence on the ultimate choice of solution to any problem based in technology. This was true one hundred years ago and true today.

1.6 Attractiveness of Fiber Optic Cable As A Premises Transmission Medium

Considering this discussion of the constraints on the Transmission Medium we are naturally led to fiber optic cable as an attractive choice for the data link design. Why? When compared with other candidates for the Transmission Medium commonly employed today, there is no comparison when it comes to attenuation, interference and bandwidth.

Illustrations can tell the story best here.

Take a look at Figure 1-12 first. This shows the attenuation of several candidates for the Transmission Medium. All are based on electromagnetic technology and all are in common use today. In other words none are laboratory curiosity items. Attenuation in dB/km is shown as a function of frequency. Here frequency would more or less refer to the data rate from the Source or equivalently the signaling rate from the Transmitter. Attenuation of an electromagnetic Transmission Medium increases with frequency due to effects on an atomic level, which are well beyond this discussion. The attenuation curves of different Transmission Medium candidates are shown as shaded strips because the exact attenuation tends to vary from sample to sample as well as manufacturer to manufacturer. However, the general trend can easily be grasped. The attenuation of the two fiber optic cable types, multi-mode and single mode, are much, much, less than the other candidates. What is more their dependence upon frequency is even flat over quite a large range. This makes designing data links with them simpler. You need not be concerned with the change in attenuation every time you decide to tweak the data rate.

To be absolutely clear the fiber optic cable attenuation shown in this figure is for fiber optic cable fabricated totally from glass (silica). That is, it has a glass core and glass cladding. There is also fiber optic cable fabricated totally from plastic and fiber optic cable having a glass-silica core with a plastic cladding (PCS- Plastic Clad Silica). It is the pure glass- silica based fiber optic cable that has the low attenuation properties. The plastic based fiber optic cable has much higher attenuation, well above coaxial cable. But, it does have some attractive features that will be discussed in a later chapter.

 

Figure 1-12: Attenuation versus frequency (Courtesy of Siecor Corporation)



You get the idea. When it comes to considering the attenuation issue then fiber optic cable is the unchallenged selection for the Transmission Medium.

Fiber optic cable is fabricated from glass or plastic. Because of the nature of this material it allows signals transmitted through fiber optic cable to be immune from electromagnetic based forms of noise and interference. This includes power transients that may arise from lightning strikes. It includes noise arising from ground loops. In fact, fiber optic cable provides nearly perfect isolation between multiple grounds. Noise can still affect a fiber optic data link; especially, if it is generated in the receiver or transmitter electronic circuitry. However, the effect of noise and interference originating outside the link is far less than with competing choices for the Transmission Medium, candidates like shielded or unshielded twisted pair cable or coaxial cable or free space microwave radio.

Take a look at Figure 1-13. This illustrates the variation of the bandwidth of fiber optic cable with its length. Remember bandwidth goes down with increasing length. But, that is not the concern here. Notice that at up to 4 km the bandwidth is always above 10 MHz. This implies that a fiber optic link can support data rates of many 10's of MBPS over these distances. This can be done without having to have the Transmitter resort to any sophisticated bandwidth efficient modulation schemes. Of course, people talk about fiber optic cable being able to support Giga Bits Per Second (1 Billion Bits Per Second - GBPS) and even Tera Bits Per Second (1 Trillion Bits Per Second). But, remember this depends upon distance and may often require multiple repeaters.

 

Figure 1-13: Bandwidth of fiber optic cable vs. length (from Fiber Optic Communications, Joseph C. Palais)



To put this in perspective, unshielded twisted pair copper cable over this distance can support 0-to-100 MBPS. Coaxial cable this distance can support about 20 MBPS. When it comes to the bandwidth issue fiber optic cable is the unquestioned most attractive candidate for the Transmission Medium.

Fiber optic cable is the unchallenged winner in the Transmission Medium sweepstakes when it comes to attenuation, interference and bandwidth. It even has some additional features that are attractive in comparing it to other candidates mentioned. It is the most secure. Tampering with fiber optic with transmissions through fiber optic cable is very difficult to do. It can be detected far more easily than with the other metallic based candidates for Transmission Medium let alone free space propagation candidates. The small size of fiber optic cables allows it to be placed in ducting that is too small for metallic cable. This allows room for substantial growth in capacity if needed. It's easier to put more fiber optic cables in the same duct. This is brought out in the photograph provided in Figure 1-14. Finally, fiber optic cables do not conduct electricity- they are glass or plastic therefore safer. They are particularly suitable for use in areas that might have spark or electrical hazard restrictions. This is especially true of places that may endanger the well being of a technician working with a long segment of metallic cable instead of a fiber.

 

Figure 1-14: Size comparison: coaxial cable and fiber optic cable (Courtesy of AT&T Archives)



Undoubtedly now you are saying So fiber optic cable is the winner when it comes to attenuation, interference and bandwidth. But, doesn't high cost throw it out? Isn't it very expensive and wasn't this the ultimate driver for the Transmission Medium selection?

It is true when comparing fiber optic cable to other candidates it is not as attractive from a cost point of view. However, the situation is getting better year by year. In particular take a look at Figure1-15. This illustrates the cost trends for different candidates for the Transmission Medium. Cost trends are graphed for the period 1990 through 1995. Notice the decrease for fiber optic cable. In the years since it has decreased even further. Of course, this is for glass based fiber optic cable. Plastic fiber optic cable has a much lower cost. In any case from a cost point of view fiber optic cable is and will probably continue to be more expensive than the cheapest, voice grade, unshielded twisted pair cable. However, its cost is merging with the other candidates. Certainly, the really minor cost disadvantage is greatly outweighed with the significant performance advantages.

 

Figure 1-15: Cost trends of common transmission media



Putting this altogether there is no argument. Fiber optic cable should be the Transmission Medium of choice when considering data links in new facilities where no other Transmission Medium candidate exists.

There is and will continue to be tremendous activity with respect to carrying out data communications in the wide area network or long haul environment. This is the environment of the long distance carrier, the Telephone Company.

However, there is even greater activity with respect to the implementation of data links in the premises or local area environment. This is the environment of the office building, Small Office Home Office (SOHO), the factory and the campus. As PC's have proliferated throughout all premise type facilities the need for data communications links has followed. Installation of premises data links be they point-to-point, multi-point, part of a Local Area Network (LAN) or whatever is a major agenda item for many business concerns. The case has been made above for fiber optic cable being the Transmission Medium of choice for these links. This is why it is the subject of interest in this book.

1.7 Program

This book has been written so that each chapter stands on its own. There is no need to read the chapters in order. There may be occasionally cross-references from one chapter to another. However, the information can easily be gleaned without going back to the very beginning.

A brief summary of the sequel is as follows:

Chapter 2 - A careful review is given to the details of a fiber optic data link for the premise environment. The possibilities for and properties of fiber optic cable are discussed. Candidates for the Transmitter and Receiver are considered. Connectors and splices are introduced. The performance of the data link is analyzed with a careful look at the loss budget.


Chapter 3 - Consideration is given to exploiting the large bandwidth presented by fiber optic cable to support the data communications of multiple users - multiple Source - User pairs. That is, how to carve out multiple fiber optic data links from a single fiber optic cable in the premises environment. This is accomplished by multiplexing. Both Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) are discussed.


Chapter 4 - Discussion focuses on the Local Area Network (LAN). Fiber optic data links are joined with LAN's. Using LAN architectures carries out a great deal of premise data communication. The delay properties of fiber optic cable can be exploited to extend the distance coverage of a LAN. A fiber optic data link can be used to connect remote stations to a LAN hub. Stations that may be too far from a LAN to be connected by a copper cable may possibly be joined by a fiber optic data link.


Chapter 5 - The manufacturing environment is considered. In particular the environment presented by heavy industry that always has a plethora of high (electric) powered tools in use. The manufacturing environment presents a situation where premises data communications may have to be carried out with intense noise and interference present. The interference protection properties of a fiber optic data link are considered in this environment. In particular, consideration is given to the types of data links and networking architectures generally found in the manufacturing environment. The discussion centers on how these links and architectures can exploit the interference protection properties of a fiber optic data link.


Chapter 6 - Discussion centers on fiber optic products that can be used to serve serial data communications.


Chapter 7 - Standards that cover the use of fiber optic data links within premises networks are enumerated. Organization from which they can be ordered, in full, are provided.


Chapter 8 - A glossary that covers the subject of fiber optic data communications. It provides terminology specifically covered within this book. However, it goes further and provides terminology that may not be used here but may be encountered within a broader view of the interest area or within communications in general.

CHAPTER 2

THE FIBER OPTIC DATA COMMUNICATIONS LINK FOR THE PREMISES ENVIRONMENT

2.1 The Fiber Optic Data Communications Link, End-to-End

In this chapter we consider the simple fiber optic data link for the premises environment. This is the basic building block for a fiber optic based network. A model of this simple link is shown in Figure 2-1.

 

Figure 2-1: Model of "simple" fiber optic data link



The illustration indicates the Source-User pair, Transmitter and Receiver. It also clearly shows the fiber optic cable constituting the Transmission Medium as well as the connectors that provide the interface of the Transmitter to the Transmission Medium and the Transmission Medium to the Receiver.

All of these are components of the simple fiber optic data link. Each will be discussed. Consideration will be in the following order: fiber optic cable, Transmitter, Receiver and connectors. We will conclude by taking up the question of how to analyze the performance of the simple fiber optic data link.

2.2 Fiber Optic Cable

We begin by asking Just what is a fiber optic cable? A fiber optic cable is a cylindrical pipe. It may be made out of glass or plastic or a combination of glass and plastic. It is fabricated in such a way that this pipe can guide light from one end of it to the other.

The idea of having light guided through bent glass is not new or high tech. The author was once informed that Leonardo DaVinci actually mentioned such a means for guiding light in one of his notebooks. However, he has not been able to verify this assertion. What is known for certain is that total internal reflection of light in a beam of water - essentially guided light - was demonstrated by the physicist John Tyndall [1820-1893] in either 1854 or 1870 - depending upon which reference you consult. Tyndall showed that light could be bent around a corner while it traveled through a jet of pouring water.

Using light for communications came after this. Alexander Graham Bell [1847-1922] invented the photo-phone around 1880. Bell demonstrated that a membrane in response to sound could modulate an optical signal, light. But, this was a free space transmission system. The light was not guided.

Guided optical communications had to wait for the 20th century. The first patent on guided optical communications over glass was obtained by AT &T in 1934. However, at that time there were really no materials to fabricate a glass (or other type of transparent material) fiber optic cable with sufficiently low attenuation to make guided optical communications practical. This had to wait for about thirty years.

During the 1960's researchers working at a number of different academic, industrial and government laboratories obtained a much better understanding of the loss mechanisms in glass fiber optic cable. Between 1968 and 1970 the attenuation of glass fiber optic cable dropped from over 1000 dB/km to less than 20 dB/km. Corning patented its fabrication process for the cable. The continued decrease in attenuation through the 1970's allowed practical guided light communications using glass fiber optic cable to take off. In the late 1980's and 1990's this momentum increased with the even lower cost plastic fiber optic cable and Plastic Clad Silica (PCS).

Basically, a fiber optic cable is composed of two concentric layers termed the core and the cladding. These are shown on the right side of Figure 2-2. The core and cladding have different indices of refraction with the core having n1 and the cladding n2. Light is piped through the core. A fiber optic cable has an additional coating around the cladding called the jacket. Core, cladding and jacket are all shown in the three dimensional view on the left side of Figure 2-2. The jacket usually consists of one or more layers of polymer. Its role is to protect the core and cladding from shocks that might affect their optical or physical properties. It acts as a shock absorber. The jacket also provides protection from abrasions, solvents and other contaminants. The jacket does not have any optical properties that might affect the propagation of light within the fiber optic cable.

The illustration on the left side of Figure 2-2 is somewhat simplistic. In actuality, there may be a strength member added to the fiber optic cable so that it can be pulled during installation.

 

Figure 2-2: Fiber Optic Cable, 3 dimensional view and basic cross section



This would be added just inside the jacket. There may be a buffer between the strength member and the cladding. This protects the core and cladding from damage and allows the fiber optic cable to be bundled with other fiber optic cables. Neither of these is shown.

How is light guided down the fiber optic cable in the core? This occurs because the core and cladding have different indices of refraction with the index of the core, n1, always being greater than the index of the cladding, n2. Figure 2-3 shows how this is employed to effect the propagation of light down the fiber optic cable and confine it to the core.


As illustrated a light ray is injected into the fiber optic cable on the right. If the light ray is injected and strikes the core-to-cladding interface at an angle greater than an entity called the critical angle then it is reflected back into the core. Since the angle of incidence is always equal to the angle of reflection the reflected light will again be reflected. The light ray will then continue this bouncing path down the length of the fiber optic cable. If the light ray strikes the core-to-cladding interface at an angle less than the critical angle then it passes into the cladding where it is attenuated very rapidly with propagation distance.

Light can be guided down the fiber optic cable if it enters at less than the critical angle. This angle is fixed by the indices of refraction of the core and cladding and is given by the formula:

Qc = arc cosine (n2 /n1).



The critical angle is measured from the cylindrical axis of the core. By way of example, if n1 = 1.446 and n2= 1.430 then a quick computation will show that the critical angle is 8.53 degrees, a fairly small angle.

Of course, it must be noted that a light ray enters the core from the air outside, to the left of Figure 2-3. The refractive index of the air must be taken into account in order to assure that a light ray in the core will be at an angle less than the critical angle. This can be done fairly simply. The following basic rule then applies. Suppose a light ray enters the core from the air at an angle less than an entity called the external acceptance angle -
Qext It will be guided down the core. Here

Qext = arc sin [(n1/ n0) sin (Qc)]



with n0 being the index of refraction of air. This angle is, likewise, measured from the cylindrical axis of the core. In the example above a computation shows it to be 12.4 degrees - again a fairly small angle.

 

Figure 2-3: Propagation of a light ray down a fiber optic cable



Fiber optic data link performance is a subject that will be discussed in full at the end of this chapter. However, let's jump the gun just a little. In considering the performance of a fiber optic data link the network architect is interested in the effect that the fiber optic cable has on overall link performance. Consideration of performance comes to answering three questions:

1) How much light can be coupled into the core through the external acceptance angle?

2) How much attenuation will a light ray experience in propagating down the core?

3) How much time dispersion will light rays representing the same input pulse experience in propagating down the core?

The more light that can be coupled into the core the more light will reach the Receiver and the lower the BER. The lower the attenuation in propagating down the core the more light reaches the Receiver and the lower the BER. The less time dispersion realized in propagating down the core the faster the signaling rate and the higher the end-to-end data rate from Source-to-User.

The answers to these questions depend upon many factors. The major factors are the size of the fiber, the composition of the fiber and the mode of propagation.

When it comes to size, fiber optic cables have exceedingly small diameters. Figure 2-4 illustrates the cross sections of the core and cladding diameters of four commonly used fiber optic cables. The diameter sizes shown are in microns, 10-6 m. To get some feeling for how small these sizes actually are, understand that a human hair has a diameter of 100 microns. Fiber optic cable sizes are usually expressed by first giving the core size followed by the cladding size. Consequently, 50/125 indicates a core diameter of 50 microns and a cladding diameter of 125 microns; 100/140 indicates a core diameter of 100 microns and a cladding diameter of 140 microns. The larger the core the more light can be coupled into it from external acceptance angle cone. However, larger diameter cores may actually allow too much light in and too much light may cause Receiver saturation problems. The left most cable shown in Figure 2-4, the 125/8 cable, is often found when a fiber optic data link operates with single-mode propagation. The cable that is second from the right in Figure 2-4, the 62.5/125 cable, is often found in a fiber optic data link that operates with multi-mode propagation.

 

Figure 2-4: Typical core and cladding diameters -Sizes are in microns



When it comes to composition or material makeup fiber optic cables are of three types: glass, plastic and Plastic Clad Silica (PCS). These three candidate types differ with respect to attenuation and cost. We will describe these in detail. Attenuation and cost will first be mentioned only qualitatively. Later, toward the end of this sub-chapter the candidates will be compared quantitatively.

By the way, attenuation is principally caused by two physical effects, absorption and scattering. Absorption removes signal energy in the interaction between the propagating light (photons) and molecules in the core. Scattering redirects light out of the core to the cladding. When attenuation for a fiber optic cable is dealt with quantitatively it is referenced for operation at a particular optical wavelength, a window, where it is minimized.

Glass fiber optic cable has the lowest attenuation and comes at the highest cost. A pure glass fiber optic cable has a glass core and a glass cladding. This candidate has, by far, the most wide spread use. It has been the most popular with link installers and it is the candidate with which installers have the most experience. The glass employed in a fiber optic cable is ultra pure, ultra transparent, silicon dioxide or fused quartz. One reference put this in perspective by noting that "if seawater were as clear as this type of fiber optic cable then you would be able to see to the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean." During the glass fiber optic cable fabrication process impurities are purposely added to the pure glass so as to obtain the desired indices of refraction needed to guide light. Germanium or phosphorous are added to increase the index of refraction. Boron or fluorine is added to decrease the index of refraction. Other impurities may somehow remain in the glass cable after fabrication. These residual impurities may increase the attenuation by either scattering or absorbing light.

Plastic fiber optic cable has the highest attenuation, but comes at the lowest cost. Plastic fiber optic cable has a plastic core and plastic cladding. This fiber optic cable is quite thick. Typical dimensions are 480/500, 735/750 and 980/1000. The core generally consists of PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) coated with a fluropolymer. Plastic fiber optic cable was pioneered in Japan principally for use in the automotive industry. It is just beginning to gain attention in the premises data communications market in the United States. The increased interest is due to two reasons. First, the higher attenuation relative to glass may not be a serious obstacle with the short cable runs often required in premise networks. Secondly, the cost advantage sparks interest when network architects are faced with budget decisions. Plastic fiber optic cable does have a problem with flammability. Because of this, it may not be appropriate for certain environments and care has to be given when it is run through a plenum. Otherwise, plastic fiber is considered extremely rugged with a tight bend radius and the ability to withstand abuse.

Plastic Clad Silica (PCS) fiber optic cable has an attenuation that lies between glass and plastic and a cost that lies between their cost as well. Plastic Clad Silica (PCS) fiber optic cable has a glass core which is often vitreous silica while the cladding is plastic - usually a silicone elastomer with a lower refractive index. In 1984 the IEC standardized PCS fiber optic cable to have the following dimensions: core 200 microns, silicone elastomer cladding 380 microns, jacket 600 microns. PCS fabricated with a silicone elastomer cladding suffers from three major defects. It has considerable plasticity. This makes connector application difficult. Adhesive bonding is not possible and it is practically insoluble in organic solvents. All of this makes this type of fiber optic cable not particularly popular with link installers. However, there have been some improvements in it in recent years.

When it comes to mode of propagation fiber optic cable can be one of two types, multi-mode or single-mode. These provide different performance with respect to both attenuation and time dispersion. The single-mode fiber optic cable provides the better performance at, of course, a higher cost.

In order to understand the difference in these types an explanation must be given of what is meant by mode of propagation.

Light has a dual nature and can be viewed as either a wave phenomenon or a particle phenomenon (photons). For the present purposes consider it as a wave. When this wave is guided down a fiber optic cable it exhibits certain modes. These are variations in the intensity of the light, both over the cable cross section and down the cable length. These modes are actually numbered from lowest to highest. In a very simple sense each of these modes can be thought of as a ray of light. Although, it should be noted that the term ray of light is a hold over from classical physics and does not really describe the true nature of light.

In any case, view the modes as rays of light. For a given fiber optic cable the number of modes that exist depend upon the dimensions of the cable and the variation of the indices of refraction of both core and cladding across the cross section. There are three principal possibilities. These are illustrated in Figure 2-5.

Consider the top illustration in Figure 2-5. This diagram corresponds to multi-mode propagation with a refractive index profile that is called step index. As can be seen the diameter of the core is fairly large relative to the cladding. There is also a sharp discontinuity in the index of refraction as you go from core to cladding. As a result, when light enters the fiber optic cable on the right it propagates down toward the left in multiple rays or multiple modes. This yields the designation multi-mode. As indicated the lowest order mode travels straight down the center. It travels along the cylindrical axis of the core. The higher modes represented by rays, bounce back and forth, going down the cable to the left. The higher the mode the more bounces per unit distance down to the left.

Over to the left of this top illustration are shown a candidate input pulse and the resulting output pulse. Note that the output pulse is significantly attenuated relative to the input pulse. It also suffers significant time dispersion. The reasons for this are as follows. The higher order modes, the bouncing rays, tend to leak into the cladding as they propagate down the fiber optic cable. They lose some of their energy into heat. This results in an attenuated output signal. The input pulse is split among the different rays that travel down the fiber optic cable. The bouncing rays and the lowest order mode, traveling down the center axis, are all traversing paths of different lengths from input to output. Consequently, they do not all reach the right end of the fiber optic cable at the same time. When the output pulse is constructed from these separate ray components the result is time dispersion.

 

Figure 2-5: Types of mode propagation in fiber optic cable (Courtesy of AMP Incorporated)



Fiber optic cable that exhibits multi-mode propagation with a step index profile is thereby characterized as having higher attenuation and more time dispersion than the other propagation candidates have. However, it is also the least costly and in the premises environment the most widely used. It is especially attractive for link lengths up to 5 km. Usually, it has a core diameter that ranges from 100 microns to 970 microns. It can be fabricated either from glass, plastic or PCS.

Consider the middle illustration in Figure 2-5. This diagram corresponds to single-mode propagation with a refractive index profile that is called step index. As can be seen the diameter of the core is fairly small relative to the cladding. Typically, the cladding is ten times thicker than the core. Because of this when light enters the fiber optic cable on the right it propagates down toward the left in just a single ray, a single-mode, and the lowest order mode. In extremely simple terms this lowest order mode is confined to a thin cylinder around the axis of the core. (In actuality it is a little more complex). The higher order modes are absent. Consequently, there is no energy lost to heat by having these modes leak into the cladding. They simply are not present. All energy is confined to this single, lowest order, mode. Since the higher order mode energy is not lost, attenuation is not significant. Also, since the input signal is confined to a single ray path, that of the lowest order mode, there is little time dispersion, only that due to propagation through the non-zero diameter, single mode cylinder.

Single mode propagation exists only above a certain specific wavelength called the cutoff wavelength.

To the left of this middle illustration is shown a candidate input pulse and the resulting output pulse. Comparing the output pulse and the input pulse note that there is little attenuation and time dispersion.


Fiber optic cable that exhibits single-mode propagation is thereby characterized as having lower attenuation and less time dispersion than the other propagation candidates have. Less time dispersion of course means higher bandwidth and this is in the 50 to 100 GHz/ km range. However, single mode fiber optic cable is also the most costly in the premises environment. For this reason, it has been used more with Wide Area Networks than with premises data communications. It is attractive more for link lengths go all the way up to 100 km. Nonetheless, single-mode fiber optic cable has been getting increased attention as Local Area Networks have been extended to greater distances over corporate campuses. The core diameter for this type of fiber optic cable is exceedingly small ranging from 5 microns to 10 microns. The standard cladding diameter is 125 microns.

Single-mode fiber optic cable is fabricated from glass. Because of the thickness of the core, plastic cannot be used to fabricate single-mode fiber optic cable. The author is unaware of PCS being used to fabricate it.

It should be noted that not all single-mode fibers use a step index profile. Some use more complex profiles to optimize performance at a particular wavelength.

Consider the bottom illustration in Figure 2-5. This corresponds to multi-mode propagation with a refractive index profile that is called graded index. Here the variation of the index of refraction is gradual as it extends out from the axis of the core through the core to the cladding. There is no sharp discontinuity in the indices of refraction between core and cladding. The core here is much larger than in the single-mode step index case discussed above. Multi-mode propagation exists with a graded index. However, as illustrated the paths of the higher order modes are somewhat confined. They appear to follow a series of ellipses. Because the higher mode paths are confined the attenuation through them due to leakage is more limited than with a step index. The time dispersion is more limited than with a step index, therefore, attenuation and time dispersion are present, just limited.

To the left of this bottom illustration is shown a candidate input pulse and the resulting output pulse. When comparing the output pulse and the input pulse, note that there is some attenuation and time dispersion, but not nearly as great as with multi-mode step index fiber optic cable.

Fiber optic cable that exhibits multi-mode propagation with a graded index profile is thereby characterized as having attenuation and time dispersion properties somewhere between the other two candidates. Likewise its cost is somewhere between the other two candidates. Popular graded index fiber optic cables have core diameters of 50, 62.5 and 85 microns. They have a cladding diameter of 125 microns - the same as single-mode fiber optic cables. This type of fiber optic cable is extremely popular in premise data communications applications. In particular, the 62.5/125 fiber optic cable is the most popular and most widely used in these applications.

Glass is generally used to fabricate multi-mode graded index fiber optic cable. However, there has been some work at fabricating it with plastic.

The illustration Figure 2-6 provides a three dimensional view of multi-mode and single-mode propagation down a fiber optic cable. Table 2-1 provides the attenuation and bandwidth characteristics of the different fiber optic cable candidates. This table is far from being all inclusive, however, the common types are represented.

 

Figure 2-6: Three dimensional view, optical power in multi-mode and single-mode fibers

 

Mode

Material

Index of Refraction Profile

l microns

Size (microns)

Atten. dB/km

Bandwidth MHz/km

Multi-mode

Glass

Step

800

62.5/125

5.0

6

Multi-mode

Glass

Step

850

62.5/125

4.0

6

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

850

62.5/125

3.3

200

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

850

50/125

2.7

600

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

1300

62.5/125

0.9

800

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

1300

50/125

0.7

1500

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

850

85/125

2.8

200

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

1300

85/125

0.7

400

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

1550

85/125

0.4

500

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

850

100/140

3.5

300

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

1300

100/140

1.5

500

Multi-mode

Glass

Graded

1550

100/140

0.9

500

Multi-mode

Plastic

Step

650

485/500

240

5 @ 680

Multi-mode

Plastic

Step

650

735/750

230

5 @ 680

Multi-mode

Plastic

Step

650

980/1000

220

5 @ 680

Multi-mode

PCS

Step

790

200/350

10

20

Single-mode

Glass

Step

650

3.7/80 or 125

10

600

Single-mode

Glass

Step

850

5/80 or 125

2.3

1000

Single-mode

Glass

Step

1300

9.3/125

0.5

*

Single-mode

Glass

Step

1550

8.1/125

0.2

*

* Too high to measure accurately. Effectively infinite.

Table 2-1: Attenuation and Bandwidth characteristics of different fiber optic cable candidates



Figure 2-7 illustrates the variation of attenuation with wavelength taken over an ensemble of fiber optic cable material types. The three principal windows of operation, propagation through a cable, are indicated. These correspond to wavelength regions where attenuation is low and matched to the ability of a Transmitter to generate light efficiently and a Receiver to carry out detection. The 'OH' symbols indicate that at these particular wavelengths the presence of Hydroxyl radicals in the cable material cause a bump up in attenuation. These radicals result from the presence of water. They enter the fiber optic cable material through either a chemical reaction in the manufacturing process or as humidity in the environment. The illustration Figure 2-8 shows the variation of attenuation with wavelength for, standard, single-mode fiber optic cable.

 

Figure 2-7: Attenuation vs. Wavelength

 

 

Figure 2-8: Attenuation spectrum of standard single-mode fiber



2.3 Transmitter

The Transmitter component of Figure 2-1 serves two functions. First, it must be a source of the light coupled into the fiber optic cable. Secondly, it must modulate this light so as to represent the binary data that it is receiving from the Source. With the first of these functions it is merely a light emitter or a source of light. With the second of these functions it is a valve, generally operating by varying the intensity of the light that it is emitting and coupling into the fiber.

Within the context of interest in this book the Source provides the data to the Transmitter as some digital electrical signal. The Transmitter can then be thought of as Electro-Optical (EO) transducer.

First some history. At the dawn of fiber optic data communications twenty-five years ago, there was no such thing as a commercially available Transmitter. The network architect putting together a fiber optic data link had to design the Transmitter himself. Everything was customized.

The Transmitter was typically designed using discrete electrical and Electro-optical devices. This very quickly gave way to designs based upon hybrid modules containing integrated circuits, discrete components (resistors and capacitors) and optical source diodes (light emitting diodes-LED's or laser diodes). The modulation function was generally performed using separate integrated circuits and everything was placed on the same printed circuit board.

By the 1980's higher and higher data transmission speeds were becoming of interest to the data link architect. The design of the Transmitter while still generally customized became more complex to accommodate these higher speeds. A greater part of the Transmitter was implemented using VLSI circuits and attention was given to minimizing the number of board interconnects. Intense research efforts were undertaken to integrate the optical source diode and the transistor level circuits needed for modulation on a common integrated circuit substrate, without compromising performance. At present, the Transmitter continues to be primarily designed as a hybrid unit, containing both discrete components and integrated circuits in a single package.

By the late 1980's commercially available Transmitter's became available. As a result, the link design could be kept separate from the Transmitter design. The link architect was relieved from the need to do high-speed circuit design or to design proper bias circuits for optical diodes. The Transmitter could generally be looked at as a black box selected to satisfy certain requirements relative to power, wavelength, data rate, bandwidth, etc. This is where the situation remains today.

To do a proper selection of a commercially available Transmitter you have to be able to know what you need in order to match your other link requirements. You have to be able to understand the differences between Transmitter candidates. There are many. We can not begin to approach this in total.

However, we can look at this in a limited way. Transmitter candidates can be compared on the basis of two characteristics. Transmitter candidates can be compared on the basis of the optical source component employed and the method of modulation.

Let us deal with the optical source component of the Transmitter first. This has to meet a number of requirements. These are delineated below:

First, its physical dimensions must be compatible with the size of the fiber optic cable being used. This means it must emit light in a cone with cross sectional diameter 8-100 microns, or it can not be coupled into the fiber optic cable.

Secondly, the optical source must be able to generate enough optical power so that the desired BER can be met.

Thirdly, there should be high efficiency in coupling the light generated by the optical source into the fiber optic cable.

Fourthly, the optical source should have sufficient linearity to prevent the generation of harmonics and intermodulation distortion. If such interference is generated it is extremely difficult to remove. This would cancel the interference resistance benefits of the fiber optic cable.

Fifthly, the optical source must be easily modulated with an electrical signal and must be capable of high-speed modulation-or else the bandwidth benefits of the fiber optic cable are lost.

Finally, there are the usual requirements of small size, low weight, low cost and high reliability. The light emitting junction diode stands out as matching these requirements. It can be modulated at the needed speeds. The proper selection of semiconductor materials and processing techniques results in high optical power and efficient coupling of it to the fiber optic cable. These optical sources are easily manufactured using standard integrated circuit processing. This leads to low cost and high reliability.

There are two types of light emitting junction diodes that can be used as the optical source of the Transmitter. These are the light emitting diode (LED) and the laser diode (LD). This is not the place to discuss the physics of their operation. LED's are simpler and generate incoherent, lower power, light. LD's are more complex and generate coherent, higher power light. Figure 2-9 illustrates the optical power output, P, from each of these devices as a function of the electrical current input, I, from the modulation circuitry. As the figure indicates the LED has a relatively linear P-I characteristic while the LD has a strong non-linearity or threshold effect. The LD may also be prone to kinks where the power actually decreases with increasing bandwidth.

With minor exceptions, LDs have advantages over LED's in the following ways.


LED's have advantages over LD's because they have

 

 

Figure 2-9: LED and laser diodes: P-I characteristics



Both the LED and LD generate an optical beam with such dimensions that it can be coupled into a fiber optic cable. However, the LD produces an output beam with much less spatial width than an LED. This gives it greater coupling efficiency. Each can be modulated with a digital electrical signal. For very high-speed data rates the link architect is generally driven to a Transmitter having a LD. When cost is a major issue the link architect is generally driven to a Transmitter having an LED.

A key difference in the optical output of an LED and a LD is the wavelength spread over which the optical power is distributed. The spectral width,
sl, is the 3 dB optical power width (measured in nm or microns). The spectral width impacts the effective transmitted signal bandwidth. A larger spectral width takes up a larger portion of the fiber optic cable link bandwidth. Figure 2-10 illustrates the spectral width of the two devices. The optical power generated by each device is the area under the curve. The spectral width is the half-power spread. A LD will always have a smaller spectral width than a LED. The specific value of the spectral width depends on the details of the diode structure and the semiconductor material. However, typical values for a LED are around 40 nm for operation at 850 nm and 80 nm at 1310 nm. Typical values for a LD are 1 nm for operation at 850 nm and 3 nm at 1310 nm.

 

Figure 2-10: LED and laser spectral widths



Once a Transmitter is selected on the basis of being either an LED or a LD additional concerns should be considered in reviewing the specifications of the candidates. These concerns include packaging, environmental sensitivity of device characteristics, heat sinking and reliability.

With either an LED or LD the Transmitter package must have a transparent window to transmit light into the fiber optic cable. It may be packaged with either a fiber optic cable pigtail or with a transparent plastic or glass window. Some vendors supply the Transmitter with a package having a small hemispherical lens to help focus the light into the fiber optic cable.

Packaging must also address the thermal coupling for the LED or LD. A complete Transmitter module may consume over 1 W- significant power consumption in a small package. Attention has to be paid to the heat sinking capabilities. Plastic packages can be used for lower speed and lower reliability applications. However, for high speed and high reliability look for the Transmitter to be in a metal package with built-in fins for heat sinking.

Let us now deal with the modulator component of the Transmitter.

There are several different schemes for carrying out the modulation function. These are respectively: Intensity Modulation, Frequency Shift Keying, Phase Shift Keying and Polarization Modulation. Within the context of a premise fiber optic data link the only one really employed is Intensity Modulation. This is the only one that will be described.

Intensity Modulation also is referred to as Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) and On-Off Keying (OOK). This is the simplest method for modulating the carrier generated by the optical source. The resulting modulated optical carrier is given by:

Es(t) = Eo m(t) cos ( 2pfst )



Within the context of a premises fiber optic data link the modulating signal m (t), the Information, assumes only the values of '0' and '1.' The parameter 'fs' is the optical carrier frequency. This is an incoherent modulation scheme. This means that the carrier does not have to exhibit stability. The demodulation function in the Receiver will just be looking for the presence or absence of energy during a bit time interval.

Intensity Modulation is employed universally for premises fiber optic data links because it is well matched to the operation of both LED's and LD's. The carrier that each of these sources produce is easy to modulate with this technique. Passing current through them operates both of these devices. The amount of power that they radiate (sometimes referred to as the radiance) is proportional to this current. In this way the optical power takes the shape of the input current. If the input current is the waveform m (t) representing the binary information stream then the resulting optical signal will look like bursts of optical signal when m (t) represents a '1' and the absence of optical signal when m(t) represents a '0.' The situation is illustrated in Figure 2-11 and Figure 2-12. The first of these figures shows the essential Transmitter circuitry for modulating either an LED or LD with Intensity Modulation. The second of these figures illustrates the input current representing the Information and the resulting optical signal generated and provided to the fiber optic cable.

 

Figure 2-11: Two methods for modulating LEDs or LDs

 

 

Figure 2-12: a. Input current representing modulation waveform, m(t); b. Output optical signal representing m(t). Vertical cross hatches indicate optical carrier



It must be noted that one reason for the popularity of Intensity Modulation is its suitability for operation with LED's. An LED can only produce incoherent optical power. Since Intensity Modulation does not require coherence it can be used with an LED.

2.4 Receiver

The Receiver component of Figure 2-1 serves two functions. First, it must sense or detect the light coupled out of the fiber optic cable then convert the light into an electrical signal. Secondly, it must demodulate this light to determine the identity of the binary data that it represents. In total, it must detect light and then measure the relevant Information bearing light wave parameters in the premises fiber optic data link context intensity in order to retrieve the Source's binary data.

Within the realm of interest in this book the fiber optic cable provides the data to the Receiver as an optical signal. The Receiver then translates it to its best estimates of the binary data. It then provides this data to the User in the form of an electrical signal. The Receiver can then be thought of as an Electro-Optical (EO) transducer.

A Receiver is generally designed with a Transmitter. Both are modules within the same package. The very heart of the Receiver is the means for sensing the light output of the fiber optic cable. Light is detected and then converted to an electrical signal. The demodulation decision process is carried out on the resulting electrical signal. The light detection is carried out by a photodiode. This senses light and converts it into an electrical current. However, the optical signal from the fiber optic cable and the resulting electrical current will have small amplitudes. Consequently, the photodiode circuitry must be followed by one or more amplification stages. There may even be filters and equalizers to shape and improve the Information bearing electrical signal.

All of this active circuitry in the Receiver presents a source of noise. This is a source of noise whose origin is not the clean fiber optic cable. Yet, this noise can affect the demodulation process.

The very heart of the Receiver is illustrated in Figure 2-13. This shows a photodiode, bias resistor and a low noise pre-amp. The output of the pre-amp is an electrical waveform version of the original Information out the source. To the right of this pre-amp would be additional amplification, filters and equalizers. All of these components may be on a single integrated circuit, hybrid or even a printed circuit board.

 

Figure 2-13: Example of Receiver block diagram - first stage



The complete Receiver may incorporate a number of other functions. If the data link is supporting synchronous communications this will include clock recovery. Other functions may included decoding (e.g. 4B/5B encoded information), error detection and recovery.

The complete Receiver must have high detectability, high bandwidth and low noise. It must have high detectability so that it can detect low level optical signals coming out of the fiber optic cable. The higher the sensitivity, the more attenuated signals it can detect. It must have high bandwidth or fast rise time so that it can respond fast enough and demodulate, high speed, digital data. It must have low noise so that it does not significantly impact the BER of the link and counter the interference resistance of the fiber optic cable Transmission Medium.

There are two types of photodiode structures; Positive Intrinsic Negative (PIN) and the Avalanche Photo Diode (APD). In most premises applications the PIN is the preferred element in the Receiver. This is mainly due to fact that it can be operated from a standard power supply, typically between 5 and 15 V. APD devices have much better sensitivity. In fact it has 5 to 10 dB more sensitivity. They also have twice the bandwidth. However, they cannot be used on a 5V printed circuit board. They also require a stable power supply. This makes cost higher. APD devices are usually found in long haul communications links.

The demodulation performance of the Receiver is characterized by the BER that it delivers to the User. This is determined by the modulation scheme - in premise applications - Intensity modulation, the received optical signal power, the noise in the Receiver and the processing bandwidth.

Considering the Receiver performance is generally characterized by a parameter called the sensitivity, this is usually a curve indicating the minimum optical power that the Receiver can detect versus the data rate, in order to achieve a particular BER. The sensitivity curve varies from Receiver to Receiver. It subsumes within it the signal-to-noise ratio parameter that generally drives all communications link performance. The sensitivity depends upon the type of photodiode employed and the wavelength of operation. Typical examples of sensitivity curves are illustrated in Figure 2-14.

In examining the specification of any Receiver you need to look at the sensitivity parameter. The curve designated Quantum Limit in Figure 2-14 is a reference. In a sense it represent optimum performance on the part of the photodiode in the Receiver. That is, performance where there is 100% efficiency in converting light from the fiber optic cable into an electric current for demodulation.

 

Figure 2-14: Receiver sensitivities for BER = 10-9, with different devices.



2.5 Connectors

The Connector is a mechanical device mounted on the end of a fiber optic cable, light source, Receiver or housing. It allows it to be mated to a similar device. The Transmitter provides the Information bearing light to the fiber optic cable through a connector. The Receiver gets the Information bearing light from the fiber optic cable through a connector. The connector must direct light and collect light. It must also be easily attached and detached from equipment. This is a key point. The connector is disconnectable. With this feature it is different than a splice which will be discussed in the next sub-chapter.

A connector marks a place in the premises fiber optic data link where signal power can be lost and the BER can be affected. It marks a place in the premises fiber optic data link where reliability can be affected by a mechanical connection.

There are many different connector types. The ones for glass fiber optic cable are briefly described below and put in perspective. This is followed by discussion of connectors for plastic fiber optic cable. However, it must be noted that the ST connector is the most widely used connector for premise data communications

Connectors to be used with glass fiber optic cable are listed below in alphabetical order.

Biconic - One of the earliest connector types used in fiber optic data links. It has a tapered sleeve that is fixed to the fiber optic cable. When this plug is inserted into its receptacle the tapered end is a means for locating the fiber optic cable in the proper position. With this connector, caps fit over the ferrules, rest against guided rings and screw onto the threaded sleeve to secure the connection. This connector is in little use today.

D4 - It is very similar to the FC connector with its threaded coupling, keying and PC end finish. The main difference is its 2.0mm diameter ferrule. Designed originally by the Nippon Electric Corp.

FC/PC - Used for single-mode fiber optic cable. It offers extremely precise positioning of the single-mode fiber optic cable with respect to the Transmitter's optical source emitter and the Receiver's optical detector. It features a position locatable notch and a threaded receptacle. Once installed the position is maintained with absolute accuracy.

SC - Used primarily with single-mode fiber optic cables. It offers low cost, simplicity and durability. It provides for accurate alignment via its ceramic ferrule. It is a push on-pull off connector with a locking tab.

SMA - The predecessor of the ST connector. It features a threaded cap and housing. The use of this connector has decreased markedly in recent years being replaced by ST and SC connectors.

ST - A keyed bayonet type similar to a BNC connector. It is used for both multi-mode and single-mode fiber optic cables. Its use is wide spread. It has the ability both to be inserted into and removed from a fiber optic cable both quickly and easily. Method of location is also easy. There are two versions ST and ST-II. These are keyed and spring loaded. They are push-in and twist types.

Photographs of several of these connectors are provided in Figure 2-15.

 

Figure 2-15: Common connectors for glass fiber optic cable (Courtesy of AMP Incorporated)



Plastic Fiber Optic Cable Connectors - Connectors that are exclusively used for plastic fiber optic cable stress very low cost and easy application. Often used in applications with no polishing or epoxy. Figure 2-16 illustrates such a connector. Connectors for plastic fiber optic cable include both proprietary designs and standard designs. Connectors used for glass fiber optic cable, such as ST or SMA are also available for use with plastic fiber optic cable. As plastic fiber optic cable gains in popularity in the data communications world there will be undoubtedly greater standardization.

 

Figure 2-16: Plastic fiber optic cable connector (Illustration courtesy of AMP Incorporated)



2.6 Splicing

A splice is a device to connect one fiber optic cable to another permanently. It is the attribute of permanence that distinguishes a splice from connectors. Nonetheless, some vendors offer splices that can be disconnected that are not permanent so that they can be disconnected for repairs or rearrangements. The terminology can get confusing.

Fiber optic cables may have to be spliced together for any of a number of reasons.

One reason is to realize a link of a particular length. The network installer may have in his inventory several fiber optic cables but, none long enough to satisfy the required link length. This may easily arise since cable manufacturers offer cables in limited lengths - usually 1 to 6 km. If a link of 10 km has to be installed this can be done by splicing several together. The installer may then satisfy the distance requirement and not have to buy a new fiber optic cable.

Splices may be required at building entrances, wiring closets, couplers and literally any intermediary point between Transmitter and Receiver.

At first glance you may think that splicing two fiber optic cables together is like connecting two wires. To the contrary, the requirements for a fiber-optic connection and a wire connection are very different.

Two copper connectors can be joined by solder or by connectors that have been crimped or soldered to the wires. The purpose is to create an intimate contact between the mated halves in order to have a low resistance path across a junction. On the other hand, connecting two fiber optic cables requires precise alignment of the mated fiber cores or spots in a single-mode fiber optic cable. This is demanded so that nearly all of the light is coupled from one fiber optic cable across a junction to the other fiber optic cable. Actual contact between the fiber optic cables is not even mandatory. The need for precise alignment creates a challenge to a designer of a splice.

There are two principal types of splices: fusion and mechanical.

Fusion splices - uses an electric arc to weld two fiber optic cables together. The splices offer sophisticated, computer controlled alignment of fiber optic cables to achieve losses as low as 0.05 dB. This comes at a high cost.

Mechanical-splices all share common elements. They are easily applied in the field, require little or no tooling and offer losses of about 0.2 dB.

2.7 Analyzing Performance of a Link

You have a tentative design for a fiber optic data link of the type that is being dealt with in this chapter, the type illustrated in Figure 2-1. You want to know whether this tentative design will satisfy your performance requirements.

You characterize your performance requirements by BER. This generally depends upon the specific Source-User application. This could be as high as 10-3 for applications like digitized voice or as low as 10-10 for scientific data. The tendency though has been to require lower and lower BERs.

The question then is will the tentative fiber optic link design provide the required BER? The answer to this question hinges on the sensitivity of the Receiver that you have chosen for your fiber optic data link design. This indicates how much received optical power must appear at the Receiver in order to deliver the required BER.

To determine whether your tentative fiber optic link design can meet the sensitivity you must analyze it. You must determine how much power does reach the Receiver. This is done with a fiber optic data link power budget.

A power budget for a particular example is presented in Table 2-2 below and is then discussed. This example corresponds to the design of a fiber optic data link with the following attributes:

  1. Data Rate of 50 MBPS.
  2. BER of 10-9.
  3. Link length of 5 km (premises distances).
  4. Multi-mode, step index, glass fiber optic cable having dimensions 62.5/125.Transmitter uses LED at 850 nm.
  5. Receiver uses PIN and has sensitivity of -40 dBm at 50 MBPS.
  6. Fiber optic cable has 1 splice.

 

LINK ELEMENT

VALUE

COMMENTS

Transmitter LED output power

3 dBm

Specified value by vendor

Source coupling loss

-5 dB

Accounts for reflections, area mismatch etc.

Transmitter to fiber optic cable connector loss

-1 dB

Transmitter to fiber optic cable with ST connector. Loss accounts for misalignment

Splice loss

-0.25 dB

Mechanical splice

Fiber Optic Cable Attenuation

-20 dB

Line 2 of Table 2-1 applied to 5 km

Fiber optic cable to receiver connector loss

-1 dB

Fiber optic cable to Receiver with ST connector. Loss Accounts for misalignment

Optical Power Delivered at Receiver

-24.25 dB

 

Receiver Sensitivity

-40 dBm

Specified in link design. Consistent with Figure 2-14

LOSS MARGIN

15.75 dB

 

Table 2-2: Example Power Budget for a fiber optic data link

The entries in Table 2-2 are more or less self-explanatory. Clearly, the optical power at the Receiver is greater than that required by the sensitivity of the PIN to give the required BER. What is important to note is the entry termed Loss Margin? This specifies the amount by which the received optical power exceeds the required sensitivity. In this example it is 15.75 dB. Good design practice requires it to be at least 10 dB. Why? Because no matter how careful the power budget is put together, entries are always forgotten, are too optimistic or vendor specifications are not accurate.

CHAPTER 3

EXPLOITING THE BANDWIDTH OF FIBER OPTIC CABLE-EMPLOYMENT BY MULTIPLE USERS


3.1 Sharing the Transmission Medium

You are the network manager of a company. You have a Source-User link requirement given to you. In response you install a premises fiber optic data link. The situation is just like that illustrated in Figure 2-1. However, the bandwidth required by the particular Source-User pair, the bandwidth to accommodate the Source-User speed requirement, is much, much, less than is available from the fiber optic data link. The tremendous bandwidth of the installed fiber optic cable is being wasted. On the face of it, this is not an economically efficient installation.

You would like to justify the installation of the link to the Controller of your company, the person who reviews your budget. The Controller doesn't understand the attenuation benefits of fiber optic cable. The Controller doesn't understand the interference benefits of fiber optic cable. The Controller hates waste. He just wants to see most of the bandwidth of the fiber optic cable used not wasted. There is a solution to this problem. Don't just dedicate the tremendous bandwidth of the fiber optic cable to a single, particular, Source-User communication requirement. Instead, allow it to be shared by a multiplicity of Source-User requirements. It allows it to carve a multiplicity of fiber optic data links out of the same fiber optic cable.

The technique used to bring about this sharing of the fiber optic cable among a multiplicity of Source-User transmission requirements is called multiplexing. It is not particular to fiber optic cable. It occurs with any transmission medium e.g. wire, microwave, etc., where the available bandwidth far surpasses any individual Source-User requirement. However, multiplexing is particularly attractive when the transmission medium is fiber optic cable. Why? Because the tremendous bandwidth presented by fiber optic cable presents the greatest opportunity for sharing between different Source-User pairs.

Conceptually, multiplexing is illustrated in Figure 3-1. The figure shows 'N' Source-User pairs indexed as 1, 2, . . . There is a multiplexer provided at each end of the fiber optic cable. The multiplexer on the left takes the data provided by each of the Sources. It combines these data streams together and sends the resultant stream out on the fiber optic cable. In this way the individual Source generated data streams share the fiber optic cable. The multiplexer on the left performs what is called a multiplexing or combining function. The multiplexer on the right takes the combined stream put out by the fiber optic cable. It separates the combined stream into the individual Source streams composing it. It directs each of these component streams to the corresponding User. The multiplexer on the right performs what is called a demultiplexing function.

A few things should be noted about this illustration shown in Figure 3-1.

 

Figure 3-1: Conceptual view of Multiplexing. A single fiber optic cable is "carved" into a multiplicity of fiber optic data links.



First, the Transmitter and Receiver are still present even though they are not shown. The Transmitter is considered part of the multiplexer on the left and the Receiver is considered part of the multiplexer on the right.

Secondly, the Sources and Users are shown close to the multiplexer. For multiplexing to make sense this is usually the case. The connection from Source-to-multiplexer and multiplexer-to-User is called a tail circuit. If the tail circuit is too long a separate data link may be needed just to bring data from the Source to the multiplexer or from the multiplexer to the User. The cost of this separate data link may counter any savings effected by multiplexing.

Thirdly, the link between the multiplexer, the link in this case realized by the fiber optic cable, is termed the composite link. This is the link where traffic is composed of all the separate Source streams.

Finally, separate Users are shown in Figure 3-1. However, it may be that there is just one User with separate ports and all Sources are communicating with this common user. There may be variations upon this. The Source-User pairs need not be all of the same type. They may be totally different types of data equipment serving different applications and with different speed requirements.

Within the context of premise data communications a typical situation where the need for multiplexing arises is illustrated in Figure 3-2. This shows a cluster of terminals. In this case there are six terminals. All of these terminals are fairly close to one another. All are at a distance from and want to communicate with a multi-user computer. This may be either a multi-use PC or a mini-computer. This situation may arise when all of the terminals are co-located on the same floor of an office building and the multi-user computer is in a computer room on another floor of the building.

The communication connection of each of these terminals could be effected by the approach illustrated in Figure 3-3. Here each of the terminals is connected to a dedicated port at the computer by a separate cable. The cable could be a twisted pair cable or a fiber optic cable. Of course, six cables are required and the bandwidth of each cable may far exceed the terminal-to-computer speed requirements.

 

Figure 3-2: Terminal cluster isolated from multi-user computer

 

 

Figure 3-3: Terminals in cluster. Each connected by dedicated cables to multi-user computer

 

 

Figure 3-4: Terminals sharing a single cable to multi-user computer by multiplexing



A more economically efficient way of realizing the communication connection is shown in Figure 3-4. Here each of the six terminals is connected to a multiplexer. The data streams from these terminals are collected by the multiplexer. The streams are combined and then sent on a single cable to another multiplexer located near the multi-user computer. This second multiplexer separates out the individual terminal data streams and provides each to its dedicated port. The connection going from the computer to the terminals is similarly handled. The six cables shown in Figure 3-3 has been replaced by the single composite link cable shown in Figure 3-4. Cable cost has been significantly reduced. Of course, this comes at the cost of two multiplexers. Yet, if the terminals are in a cluster the tradeoff is in the direction of a net decrease in cost.

There are two techniques for carrying out multiplexing on fiber optic cable in the premise environment. These two techniques are Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM). These techniques are described in the sequel. Examples are introduced of specific products for realizing these techniques. These products are readily available from Telebyte. TDM and WDM are then compared.

3.2 Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) with Fiber Optic Cable

With TDM a multiplicity of communication links, each for a given Source-User pair, share the same fiber optic cable on the basis of time. The multiplexer(s) set up a continuous sequence of time slots using clocks. The duration of the time slots depends upon a number of different engineering design factors; most notably the needed transmission speeds for the different links. Each communication link is assigned a specific time slot, a TDM channel, during which it is allowed to send its data from the Source end to the User end. During this time slot no other link is permitted to send data. The multiplexer at the Source end takes in data from the Sources connected to it. It then loads the data from each Source into its corresponding TDM channel. The multiplexer at the User end unloads the data from each channel and sends it to the corresponding User.

As an example, the Telebyte Model 273 is a high performance four-channel, time division multiplexer whose composite link is implemented in fiber optics. The Model 273 will transport four full-duplex channels of asynchronous RS-232 data over two fiber optic cables. In addition, a bi-directional control signal is also transmitted for each of the four primary channels. The maximum rate for all four channels is 256 KBPS, 64 KBPS each. A jumper option allows upgrading channel 1 to 128 KBPS while reducing the total channel capacity from four to three. As an aid to installation and verification of system performance the Model 273 is equipped with a front panel TEST switch. The function of this switch is to send a test pattern to the remote Model 273, which causes it to go into loopback. A SYNC LED indicates status of the fiber optic link. Signals on the RS-232 data lines are monitored via the four Transmit Data LED's and the four Receive Data LED's. Power for the Model 273 is supplied by a small power adapter. Each Model 273 is supplied with four pieces of modular cable and eight RS-232 adapters. These adapters, four male and four female, offer users the ability to provide any connection required by their RS-232 interfaces.
 

 

 

Figure 3-5: Model 273 Four channel fiber optic TDM Multiplexer with Model 272A Fiber Optic Line Driver, a copper to fiber converter.


The illustration Figure 3-6 shows an application of the Telebyte Model 273 Four Channel Fiber Optic Multiplexer. On the right side are four (4) different data devices. These are of different types, PCs and terminals. All of these data devices need to communicate with a main frame computer. This is not shown but what is shown on the left is the Front End Processor (FEP) of this main frame computer. All communication to/from the main frame computer is through ports of the FEP. Each data device is assigned a dedicated port at the FEP. The two Model 273's effect the communication from/to all these devices by using just one fiber optic cable that can be as long as 2 km.

 

Figure 3-6: Model 273 realizing time division multiplexed data communications to a mainframe computer through its FEP.


When dealing with copper to fiber connections, an interface converter such as the Model 272A provides the capability of performing an interface conversion between full duplex, RS-422 signals and their equivalent for fiber optic transmission. For applications where the transmission medium must be protected from electrical interference, lightning, atmospheric conditions or chemical corrosion fiber optics is the perfect solution. The Model 272A RS-422 to Fiber Optic Line Driver handles full duplex data rates to 2.5 MBPS. The electrical interface to the RS-422 port is fully differential for transmit and receive data and is implemented in an industry standard DB25 connector. The fiber optic ports are implemented using the industry standard ST connectors. The design has been optimized for 62.5/125 micron fiber cable, however other sizes may be used. The optical signal wavelength is approximately 850nm. The optical power budget for the Model 272A is 12 dB. In normal applications the distance between a pair of Model 272A's will be at least 2 km (6,600 ft). Power to operate the Model 272A is supplied by a small, wall mounted, 9 Volt AC transformer and line cord.


3.3 Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) With Fiber Optic Cable

With WDM a multiplicity of communication links, each for a given Source-User pair, share the same fiber optic cable on the basis of wavelength. The data stream from each Source is assigned an optical wavelength. The multiplexer has within it the modulation and transmission processing circuitry. The multiplexer modulates each data stream from each Source. After the modulation process the resulting optical signal generated for each Source data stream is placed on its assigned wavelength. The multiplexer then couples the totality of optical signals generated for all Source data streams into the fiber optic cable. These different wavelength optical signals propagate simultaneously. This is in contrast to TDM.

The fiber optic cable is thereby carved into a multiplicity of data links - each data link corresponding to a different one of these optical wavelengths assigned to the Sources.

At the User end the multiplexer receives these simultaneous optical signals. It separates these signals out according to their different wavelengths by using prisms. This constitutes the demultiplexing operation. The separated signals correspond to the different Source-User data streams. These are further demodulated. The resulting separated data streams are then provided to the respective Users.

At this point a slight digression is necessary. The focus of this book is on premise data communications, data communications in the local area environment. Notwithstanding, it must be mentioned that WDM has been receiving a tremendous amount of attention within the context of Wide Area Networks (WANs). Both CATV systems and telecommunication carriers are making greater and greater use of it to expand the capacity of the installed WAN fiber optic cabling plant. Within the Wide Area Networking environment the multiplicity of channels carved from a single fiber has increased tremendously using WDM. The increase has led to the term Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) to describe the newer WDMs employed. Now, back to our main topic.

3.4 Comparing Multiplexing Techniques for the Premises Environment

It is best to compare TDM and WDM on the basis of link design flexibility, speed and impact on BER.

Link Design Flexibility - TDM can be engineered to accommodate different link types. In other words, a TDM scheme can be designed to carve a given fiber optic cable into a multiplicity of links carrying different types of traffic and at different transmission rates. TDM can also be engineered to have different time slot assignment strategies. Slots may be permanently assigned. Slots may be assigned upon demand (Demand Assignment Multiple Access - DAMA). Slots may vary depending upon the type of link being configured. Slots may even be dispensed with altogether with data instead being encapsulated in a packet with Source and User addresses (statistical multiplexing). However, within the context of premises environment there is strong anecdotal evidence that TDM works best when it is used to configure a multiplicity of links all of the same traffic type, with time slots all of the same duration and permanently assigned. This simplest version of TDM is easiest to design and manage in premise data communications. The more complex versions are really meant for the WAN environment.

On the other hand, in the premises environment WDM, generally, has much greater flexibility. WDM is essentially an analog technique. As a result, with WDM it is much easier to carve a fiber optic cable into a multiplicity of links of quite different types. The character of the traffic and the data rates can be quite different and not pose any real difficulties for WDM. You can mix 10Base-T Ethernet LAN traffic with 100Base-T Ethernet LAN traffic with digital video and with out of band testing signals and so on. With WDM it is much easier to accommodate analog traffic. It is much easier to add new links on to an existing architecture. With TDM the addition of new links with different traffic requirements may require revisiting the design of all the time slots, a major effort.

With respect to flexibility the one drawback that WDM has relative to TDM in the premises environment is in the number of simultaneous links it can handle. This is usually much smaller with WDM than with TDM. Nonetheless, advances in DWDM for the WAN environment may filter down to the premise environment and reverse this drawback.

Speed - Design of TDM implicitly depends upon digital components. Digital circuitry is required to take data in from the various Sources. Digital components are needed to store the data. Digital components are needed to load the data into corresponding time slots, unload it and deliver it to the respective Users. How fast must these digital components operate? Roughly, they must operate at the speed of the composite link of the multiplexer. With a fiber optic cable transmission medium, depending upon cable length, a composite link of multiple GBPS could be accommodated. However, commercially available, electrically based, digital logic speeds today are of the order of 1 billion operations per second. This can and probably will change in the future as device technology continues to progress. But, let us talk in terms of today. TDM is really speed limited when it comes to fiber optic cable. It can not provide a composite link speed to take full advantage of the tremendous bandwidth presented by fiber optic cable. This is not just particular to the premises environment it also applies to the WAN environment.

On the other hand, WDM does not have this speed constraint. It is an analog technique. Its operation does not depend upon the speed of digital circuitry. It can provide composite link speeds that are in line with the enormous bandwidth presented by fiber optic cable.

Impact on BER - Both TDM and WDM, carve a multiplicity of links from a given fiber optic cable. However, there may be cross talk between the links created. This cross talk is interference that can impact the BER and affect the performance of the application underlying the need for communication.

With TDM cross-talk arises when some of the data assigned to one time slot slides into an adjacent time slot. How does this happen? TDM depends upon accurate clocking. The multiplexer at the Source end depends upon time slot boundaries being where they are supposed to be so that the correct Source data is loaded into the correct time slot. The multiplexer at the User end depends upon time slot boundaries being where they are supposed to be so that the correct User gets data from the correct time slot. Accurate clocks are supposed to indicate to the multiplexer where the time slot boundaries are. However, clocks drift, chiefly in response to variations in environmental conditions like temperature. What is more, the entire transmitted data streams, the composite link, may shift small amounts back and forth in time, an effect called jitter. This may make it difficult for the multiplexer at the User end to place time slot boundaries accurately. Protection against TDM cross-talk is achieved by putting guard times in the slots. Data is not packed end-to-end in a time slot. Rather, there is either a dead space, or dummy bits or some other mechanism built into the TDM protocol so that if data slides from one slot to another its impact on BER is minimal.

With WDM cross-talk arises because the optical signal spectrum for a given link placed upon one particular (center) wavelength is not bounded in wavelength (equivalently frequency). This is a consequence of it being a physical signal that can actually be generated. The optical signal spectrum will spill over onto the optical signal spectrum for another link placed at another (center) wavelength. The amount of spillage depends upon how close the wavelengths are and how much optical filtering is built into the WDM to buffer it. The protection against cross-talk here is measured by a parameter called isolation. This is the attenuation (dB) of the optical signal placed at one (center) wavelength as measured at another (center) wavelength. The greater the attenuation the less effective spillage and the less impact on BER.

At the present time, clock stability for digital circuitry is such that TDM cross-talk presents no real impact on BER in the context of premises data communications and at the composite link speeds that can be accommodated. The TDM cross-talk situation may be different when considering WANs. However, this is the case in the premise environment. The situation is not as good for WDM. Here, depending upon the specific WDM design, the amount of isolation may vary from a low value of 16 dB all the way to 50 dB. A low value of isolation means that the impact upon BER could be significant. In such situations WDM is limited to communications applications that can tolerate a high BER. Digital voice and video would be in this group. However, LAN traffic would not be in this group. From the perspective of BER generated by cross-talk TDM is more favorable than WDM.

 

CHAPTER 4

EXPLOITING THE DELAY PROPERTIES OF FIBER OPTIC CABLE FOR LOCAL AREA NETWORK (LAN) EXTENSION


Fiber optic cable provides a way for extending reach of Local Area Networks (LANs). If you are well versed on the subject of LANs you are welcome to jump right into this subject and skip the next two subchapters. However, if you have not been initiated into LAN technology then you will find the subjects covered in these next two subchapters worthwhile reading.

4.1 Brief History of Local Area Networks

Two full generations ago, in the early days of the data revolution, each computer served only a single user. In the computer room (or at that time 'the building') of an installation there was 1 CPU, 1 keyboard, 1 card reader, (maybe) 1 magnetic tape reader, 1 printer, 1 keypunch machine etc. From a usage point of view this was highly inefficient. Most data processing managers were concerned that this highly expensive equipment spent most of the time waiting for users to employ it. Most data processing managers knew this looked bad to the Controllers of their organizations. This led to the pioneering development of time-sharing operating systems by MIT with Project MAC.

Time sharing opened up computational equipment to more than 1 user. Whole departments, companies, schools etc. began making use of the expensive computational equipment. A key element in time sharing systems concerned the keyboard. A computer terminal replaced it. The multiple terminals were connected to the CPU by data communications links. There was a marriage of computation and data communications. In particular, the data communications was mostly (though not exclusively) premises data communications.

Throughout the years time sharing led to distributed computation. The idea of distributed computation being that applications programs would reside on one central computer called the Server. Applications users would reside at PCs. When an applications user wanted to run a program a copy of it would be downloaded to him/her. In this way multiple users could work with the same program simultaneously. This was much more efficient than the original time sharing. Distributed computation required a data communications network to tie the Server to the PCs and peripherals. This network was called a Local Area Network (LAN). This network had to have high bandwidth. In fact, it had to accommodate speeds that were orders of magnitude greater than the original time sharing networks. Entire applications programs had to be downloaded to multiple users. Files, the results of running applications programs, had to be uploaded to be stored in central memory.

LANs first came on the scene in a noticeable sense in the late 1970's. From that time until the present many flavors of LANs have been offered in the marketplace. There are still a number of different flavors each with its group of advocates and cult following. However, some time around the late 1980's the market place began to recognize Ethernet as the flavor of choice. All of the discussion in the sequel will concern only Ethernet.

The Ethernet LAN architecture had its origins in work done at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) by Robert Metcalf in the early 1970's. Metcalf later went on to become the founder of 3COM. Xerox was later joined by DEC and Intel in promoting Ethernet as the coming LAN standard. In the development of the Ethernet LAN architecture Metcalf built upon previous research funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) at the University of Hawaii. This ARPA program was concerned with an asynchronous multiple access data communications technique called ALOHA.

The basic operation of an Ethernet LAN can be briefly explained with the aid of Figure 4-1. This illustration indicates various data equipment that all need to communicate with each other. The data equipment constitute the users of the LAN. Each is a Source and User within the context of the discussion of Chapter 1. The location on the LAN of each data equipment unit is termed the station.

 

Figure 4-1: Ethernet Bus architecture



The communication between the data equipment is accomplished by having all the data equipment tap onto a Transmission Medium. Each station taps onto the Transmission Medium. The Transmission Medium is typically some type of cable. As shown in Figure 4-1 it is labeled Broadcast Channel - The Ethernet Bus. The Bus Interface Units (BIUs) provide the essential interfacing at a station between the data equipment and the Broadcast Channel. That is, they provide the transmit/receive capability and all needed intelligence.

It is an essential feature of the Ethernet LAN architecture that any data equipment can transmit to any other data equipment and any data equipment can listen to all transmissions on the Broadcast Channel, whether intended for it or for some other data equipment user. Implicitly, the Ethernet architecture assumes that there is no coordination in the transmissions of the different data equipment. This is quite a bit different from the sharing of a Transmission Medium by TDM where coordination is essential. Transmitted data only goes in its assigned slot.

Now how does an Ethernet LAN operate? It operates by making use of three essential items. First, it employs a Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) protocol. Secondly, data to be communicated is enveloped in packets that have the addresses of the data equipment units communicating. The packet has the address of the equipment sending data (the origin) and the data equipment that is the intended recipient (the destination). Thirdly, the Ethernet Bus - the Transmission Medium - is taken as passive and supports broadcast type transmissions. The way in which the Ethernet LAN architecture uses these items is explained briefly below.

Consider a specific data equipment unit at its station. This will be our data equipment unit, station and BIU of interest. For the sake of an example, suppose it is a PC wanting to communicate with the Computer with File Server at its station. Before attempting to transmit a data packet onto the Ethernet Bus our terminal's BIU first listens to determine if the Bus is idle. That is, it listens to determine if there are any other packets from other data equipment already on the Bus. It attempts to sense the presence of a communication signal representing a packet, a carrier, on the Bus. Our BIU and any BIU have circuitry to perform this Carrier Sensing. An active BIU transmits its packet on the Bus only if the Bus has been sensed as idle. In other words, it only transmits its packet if it has determined that no other packet is already on the Bus - carrier is absent. If the Bus is sensed as busy- carrier is present- then the BIU defers its transmission until the Bus is sensed as idle again. This procedure allows the various data equipment to operate asynchronously yet avoid interfering with one another's communications.

However, it may be that a carrier has not sensed an existing packet is already on the Bus. Transmission of a packet by the BIU of interest begins but there are still problems. There are propagation delays and carrier detection processing delays. Because of these, it may be that the packet from our PC's BIU still interferes with, or collides with, a packet transmitted by another equipment's BIU. This interfering packet is one that has not yet reached our BIU by the end of the interval in which it had performed the carrier sensing. A BIU monitors the transmission of the packet it is sending out to determine if it does collide with another packet. To do this it makes use of the broadcast nature of the transmission medium. A BIU can monitor what it has put on the Ethernet Bus and also any other traffic on the Ethernet Bus. Our BIU and any BIU has circuitry to perform Collision Detection. The BIU that transmitted the interfering packet also has circuitry to perform Collision Detection.

When both BIUs sense a collision they cease transmitting. Each BIU then waits a random amount of time before re-transmitting - that is sensing for carrier and transmitting the packet onto the bus. If another collision occurs then this random time wait is repeated but increased. In fact, it is increased at an exponential rate until the collision event disappears. This approach to getting out of collisions is called exponential back off.

4.2 Transmission Media Used To Implement An Ethernet LAN

Let us direct attention now to the Transmission Medium that is used to implement the Broadcast Channel, the Ethernet Bus.

Early implementations of Ethernet LANs employed thick coaxial cable. Actually, it was thick yellow coaxial cable - the original recipe Ethernet cable. The cable was defined by the 10Base-5 standard. This implementation was called Thicknet. It could deliver a BER of 10-8. It supported a data rate of 10 MBPS. The maximum LAN cable segment length was 500 meters. The segment length is the maximum distance between data terminal equipment stations. These are attractive features.

Unfortunately, the thick coaxial cable was difficult to work with. As a result, second wave implementations of Ethernet LANs employed thin coaxial cable. The cable was RG58 A/U coaxial cable - sometimes called Cheapernet. This cable was defined by the 10Base-2 standard. The implementation was called Thinnet. It supported a data rate of 10 MBPS. But, it had a BER somewhat degraded relative to Thicknet. The LAN cable segment length was reduced to the order of 185 meters.

Thinnet ultimately gave way to the replacement of coaxial cable with Unshielded Twisted Pair cable (UTP). This came about through an interesting merging of the Ethernet LAN architecture with another LAN flavor called StarLAN, an AT & T idea.

StarLAN was based upon what a Telco, a phone company, normally does for businesses that is, provide voice communications. The Transmission Medium a Telco uses within a facility for voice communications is Unshielded Twisted Pair cable (UTP). It provides voice communications within a facility and to the outside world by connecting all of the phones, the handsets, through a telephone closet or wiring closet. The distance from handset to telephone closet is relatively limited, maybe 250 meters. The StarLAN idea was to take this basic approach for voice and use it for a LAN. The LAN stations would be connected through a closet. The existing UTP cable present in a facility for voice would be used for the LAN data traffic. There would be no need to install a new and separate Transmission Medium. Installation costs would be contained. Unfortunately, StarLAN only supported 1 MBPS. It never got off the ground.

However, in 1990 aspects of StarLAN were taken and merged with the Ethernet LAN architecture. This resulted in a new Ethernet LAN based upon UTP and defined by the 10Base-T standard. It was with this UTP approach that Ethernet really took off in the market place.

Ethernet under the 10Base-T standard has a hub and spoke architecture. This is illustrated in Figure 4-2. The various data equipment units, the stations, are all connected to a central point called a Multipoint Repeater or Hub. The connections are by UTP cable. This architecture does support the Broadcast Channel-Ethernet Bus. This occurs because all data equipment units can broadcast to all other data equipment units through the Hub. Likewise, all data equipment units can listen to the transmissions from all other data equipment units as they are received via the UTP cable connection to the Hub. The Hub takes the place of the telephone closet. The Hub may be strictly passive or it may perform signal restoration functions.

 

Figure 4-2: 10Base-T hub-and-spoke architecture



The illustration Figure 4-3 indicates how the 10Base-T topology may actually look in an office set-up at some facility. Here the data equipment units are all PCs. One serves as the file server. The illustration shows what is usually referred to as a 10Base-T Work Group. It may serve one specific department in a company. By connecting together these work groups Ethernet LANs may be extended. This is accomplished by connecting hubs using LAN network elements called bridges, routers and switches. A description of their operation is beyond the focus of the present discussion.

 

Figure 4-3: Ethernet operating as a 10Base-T work group



But, let us get back to 10Base-T. It supports a data rate of 10 MBPS. It has a BER comparable to Thinnet. However, the LAN segment length is reduced even further. With 10Base-T the LAN segment length is only 100 m - a short distance but a distance that is tolerable for many data equipment stations in a typical business. However, it may be too short for others. This is a place where fiber optic cable can come to the rescue.

For the LAN market place 10Base-T was far from the last word. It led to the development of 100Base-T - Fast Ethernet. It is also based on using UTP cable for transmission medium. However, it supports a data rate of 100 MBPS over cable segments of 100 m.

Fast Ethernet, itself, is not the end of the road. Vendors are starting to promote Giga Bit Ethernet which is capable of supporting 1 GBPS. However, we will stop at Fast Ethernet and the problem that both it and 10Base-T have - the short cable segment of 100 m.

Before continuing it will be worthwhile to define two terms that come up in discussing Ethernet characteristics. These are 1) Network Diameter and 2) Slot Time.

The Network Diameter is simply the maximum end-to-end distance between data equipment users, stations, in an Ethernet network. It is really what has been referred to above as the cable segment. The Network Diameter is the same for both 10Base-T and 100Base-T, 100 m.

After a BIU has begun the transmission of a packet the Slot Time is the time interval that a BIU listens for the presence of a collision with an interfering packet. The Slot Time cannot be infinite. It is set for both the 10Base-T and 100Base-T Ethernet architectures. It is defined for both standards as the time duration of 512 bits. With a 10Base-T Ethernet network operating at 10 MBPS the Slot Time translates to 51.2
msec. With a 100Base-T Ethernet network operating at 100 MBPS the Slot Time translates to 5.12msec.

4.3 Examining the Distance Constraint

The distance constraint of an Ethernet LAN is the Network Diameter. As noted above this is 100 m for both the 10Base-T and 100Base-T implementations. This may not be enough for all potential users of an Ethernet LAN. Now how do you support LAN users that are separated by more than this 100-m constraint? To deal with this question it is important to understand where this constraint comes from and what is driving it.

Many people believe that the Network Diameter is set strictly by the attenuation properties of the UTP copper cable connecting data equipment to the Hub. This is erroneous. Attenuation does affect the Network Diameter, but it is not the dominant influence. However, if it were, you would be able to see the immediate possibilities of improving it by using fiber optic cable rather than UTP copper cable. The significantly less attenuation of fiber optic cable would boost the Network Diameter. No, it is not attenuation but instead the Slot Time that really sets the Network Diameter.

The Slot Time is related to the amount of time delay between a transmitting BIU and the furthermost receiving BIU. The diagram showed in Figure 4-3 illustrates the Slot Time issues to be discussed now. Here we show two data equipment users of an Ethernet LAN - either 10Base-T or 100Base-T - it doesn't matter. These are labeled as Data Terminal Equipment Unit A and Data Terminal Equipment Unit B. For brevity they will be referred to as Unit A and Unit B. The BIU's are taken as subsumed in the ovals.

 

Figure 4-4: 2 Stations communicating on an Ethernet Bus. Delays shown.



Suppose Unit A transmits a data packet over the Ethernet Bus to Unit B. The transmitted data packet travels along the Ethernet Bus. It takes a time interval of TA seconds to reach Unit B. In the meantime, Unit B has performed carrier sensing and has determined, from its perspective, that the Ethernet Bus is not busy and so it also begins to transmit a data packet. From a collision detection point of view the worst case occurs when Unit B begins to transmit its data packet just before the data packet from Unit A arrives in front of it. Why is this worst case? When the Unit A data packet arrives at Unit B, Unit B immediately knows that a collision has occurred and can begin recovery operations. However, Unit A will not know that there has been any collision problem until the data packet from Unit B arrives in front of it. This packet from Unit B takes a time interval of TB seconds to arrive at Unit A. Putting this together Unit A has to wait at least TA + TB seconds before it can detect the presence/absence of a collision. There is some additional time needed to sense the presence/absence of a collision at both Unit A and Unit B. The collision detection processing time is denoted as TC. For 100Base-T networks a typical value for this is 1.12
msec. The Slot Time is the sum TA + TB + TC.

TA and TB usually can be taken as equal and denoted as t. Putting these together brings:

t = (Slot Time- TC) / 2



The one way delay,
t, is equal to the distance between Unit A and Unit B divided by the velocity of transmission between Units A and B. The maximum distance is of course the Network Diameter. The velocity of transmission will be denoted by 'V.' This is the speed of an electromagnetic wave on the Ethernet Bus. Applying these brings:

Network Diameter = (V/2)(Slot Time- TC)



The Slot Time is fixed by the 10Base-T and 100Base-T Ethernet standards. TC is a function of BIU design. It is evident then that it is the value of V that really drives the Network Diameter. In characterizing the Ethernet Bus you usually deal with the inverse of V. For UTP copper cable V-1 is approximately 8 nsec/m. Consider a 100Base-T Ethernet LAN. Applying this value for V-1 above brings a value of 250 m for the Network Diameter. On the face of it this is quite a bit better than the 100-m allotted for the Network Diameter by the standard. The difference is accounted for by a number of delay items that were excluded from the example. These were excluded in order to bring out the principle point - the dependence of Network Diameter on V-1. This difference is taken up by margin allotted for other processing functions. These functions include the delay through the Hub. They include processing delays in software at the interface between the data equipment and its BIU. The margin is also allotted for deleterious properties of cable.

However, the essential point remains. The achievable Network Diameter is determined by the delay through the transmission medium. The speed of V-1 through UTP copper cable results in a Network Diameter of 100 m.

Consider a fiber optic cable. Typically, the value of V-1 is 5 nsec/m for multi-mode fiber optic cable. This is almost 50% lower than for UTP copper cable. Applying this value in the above example would bring a Network Diameter of 400 m, quite a bit more than 250 m.

By using a fiber optic cable you can connect data equipment stations to the LAN that are much further apart than the 100 m distance allowed for by the assumed UTP copper cable in 10Base-T or 100Base-T LANs. You can do this because the velocity of light through a fiber optic cable is much faster than the group velocity of electromagnetic waves in copper cable- the speed of current in copper cable. You can do this because the transmission delay, V-1, of a packet traversing a fiber optic cable is about 50% lower than it is for UTP copper cable.

How would you do it? How would you exploit a fiber optic cable to bring distant users into a UTP copper cable based Ethernet LAN? How would you accommodate really distant stations to a 10Base-T or 100Base-T Ethernet LAN, stations much further than the Network Diameter?

In order to do this you need to connect them to the Hub using a fiber optic cable. This may be either a multi-mode or single-mode fiber optic cable. However, neither the Ethernet Hub nor the BIU at the distant data equipment user knows anything about signaling on a fiber optic cable Transmission Medium. So, at the Hub you need some type of equipment that will take the 10Base-T or 100Base-T packets, in their electrical format, and convert it to light to propagate down a fiber optic cable. You need the same equipment at the distant data equipment's BIU for transmission toward the Hub. Similarly, you need this device to be able to take the light wave representations of a packet coming out of the fiber optic cable and convert it to an electrical format recognizable by the Hub or the BIU. This is called a LAN Extender.

By using a LAN Extender you get a distance benefit. In addition, on the particular LAN link you get the other benefits available with fiber optic cable. These include protection from ground loops, power surges and lightning.

4.4 Examples of LAN Extenders Shown In Typical Applications

Telebyte offers a variety of LAN Extenders. These are now described.

Model 373 10Base-T to Multimode Fiber Optic Transceiver
This unit is pictured in Figure 4-5. It extends the distance of a 10Base-T Ethernet LAN to over 2 km. The Model 373 10Base-T to Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Transceiver takes 10Base-T Ethernet signals and converts them to/from optical signals that are transmitted/received from multi-mode fiber optic cable.

 

Figure 4-5: Model 373 10Base-T to Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Converter



The Model 373 has a group of five LED's. These indicate the presence of the fiber optic link, traffic going back and forth in both directions, the presence of a collision and power. The unit even includes a Link Test switch. This assures compatibility between older and newer Ethernet adapters. It allows the enabling/disabling of the Link Test heart beat option.

The Model 373 uses ST connectors for the fiber optic cable. It is designed for transmission/reception over 62.5/125 multi-mode fiber optic cable. On the 10Base-T port side, it is in full compliance with the IEEE 802.3 specification. The Model 373 is also in full compliance with the Ethernet 10Base-FL standard. This is the standard for using multi-mode fiber optic cable to extend the Network Diameter of a 10Base-T Ethernet LAN.

The Model 373 is illustrated in a typical application in Figure 4-6. This shows the stations of a 10Base-T Ethernet LAN in a typical business environment. Most of the stations of the LAN are located near one another in the same building. This is Building A. All of the stations in Building A are within 100 m of one another. For purposes of this example, these people at these stations may all be in the company's Accounting Department. They can all be connected to the LAN through the Hub located in Building using the UTP copper cable - the ordinary building block of a 10Base-T LAN. They are all within the 100-m Network Diameter for a UTP copper cable based 10Base-T network. However, there is one remote station of this LAN that is not in Building A. This may be the station of the manufacturing manager. His office is in Building B- the production facility. Building B is located some distance away from the front office of Building A. In fact, Building B is about 1 km away from Building A. The manufacturing manager needs to be tied into the Accounting Department LAN so that he can update the Controller with inventory and purchasing information.

As Figure 4-6 indicates the manufacturing manager in Building B can easily be tied into the LAN. This is accomplished by placing a Model 373 at the Hub in Building A. A multi-mode fiber optic cable to another Model 373 in Building B then connects the Model 373. The second Model 373 is connected to the manufacturing manager's work station. The pair of Model 373's and the fiber optic cable will be completely transparent to all stations of the LAN, both the Accounting Department stations in Building A and the remote station of the manufacturing manager in Building B.

 

Figure 4-6: Model 373 shown in a typical application



Model 374 10Base-T to Single Mode Fiber Optic Transceiver
This unit is pictured in Figure 4-7. It is the almost the same as the Model 373 except that its fiber optic components are adapted for single-mode transmission. Because single mode fiber optic cable has much lower attenuation this allows a significant extension of distance. In fact, the Model 374 10Base-T to Single-Mode Fiber Optic Transceiver extends the distance of a 10Base-T Ethernet LAN to over 14 km.

The ability to achieve the extended distance is due to full duplex transmission. Full-Duplex* has one important advantage. Since there are separate transmit and receive paths, DTE's can transmit and receive at the same time. Collisions are therefore eliminated. Full Duplex Ethernet is a collision free environment.

For single-mode fiber optic cable transmission there is no standard comparable to 10Base-FL.

*Duplex operation - Transmission on a data link in both directions. Half duplex refers to such transmission, but in a time-shared mode- only one direction can transmit at a time. With full duplex there can be transmission in both direction simultaneously.

 

Figure 4-7: Model 374 10Base-T to Single Mode Fiber Optic Transceiver.



The application illustrated in Figure 4-6 also applies to the Model 374. However, now our manufacturing manager can be located in a building as far as 14 km away from the Accounting Department and still be tied into their 10Base-T Ethernet LAN.

The Model 375 100Base-T to Multimode Fiber Optic Transceiver allows any two 100Base-TX compliant ports to be connected by multimode, 62.5/125 micron fiber optic cable, while assuring that collision information is preserved and translated from one segment to the other. The operation of the device is transparent to the network and is offered in two versions. The Model 375ST is equipped with ST fiber connectors and offers 2 Km performance.

The 100 BASE-T adapters allow full duplex, simultaneous transfer of data with a minimum of collisions. The Model 375 extends this full duplex capability using dual fibers, while offering flawless data transmission at 100 MBPS. The Model 375 incorporates three LED's that report if the 100 Base-T and fiber are active and powered. The fiber optic connector is a duplex as ordered, designed for operation at 100 MBPS for FDDI, ATM or Fast Ethernet. Power for the Model 375 is via a supplied power pack.
 

 

Figure 4-8: Model 375 100Base-T to Fiber Transceiver for Fast Ethernet



The application illustrated in Figure 4-6 applies to the Model 375. You merely have to substitute a Fast Ethernet, 100Base-T Ethernet LAN, for the 10Base-T Ethernet LAN and substitute a Model 375 for the Model 373.

CHAPTER 5

EXPLOITING THE ADVANTAGES OF FIBER OPTIC CABLE IN THE INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENT

5.1 Data Communications in the Industrial Environment

Our attention is now drawn to the problem of data communications in the industrial environment. This is the problem of data communications in the manufacturing facility. It is the problem of data communications on the factory floor or in the process control plant. Data communications in these premises can significantly benefit by using fiber optic cable as the Transmission Medium.

Let us begin by describing the industrial environment from a data communications perspective.

What type of data communications is going on here? Typically, the situation is illustrated in Figure 5-1. There is a Master Computer located somewhere in the manufacturing facility. In the past this was usually a mini-computer. Presently, it is either a workstation or PC. The Master Computer is communicating with any of a number of data devices. For example, it may be controlling automated tools and sensors. It may also be exercising control by querying and receiving data from different monitors. These data devices are located throughout the facility. The illustration provided by Figure 5-1 shows a machine tool, but in actuality the number of different automated tool types, sensors and monitors may be very large. By way of example, it may extend to well over 100 in a semiconductor fabrication facility.

The control procedure exercised by the Master Computer usually consists of sending a message out and receiving a message back. It may be sending automated tool or sensor an instruction. It may then receive back either an acknowledgement of instruction receipt or a status update of some sort. In like manner, the Master Computer may send queries to a monitor and receive back status updates.

 

Figure 5-1: Data Communications in the industrial environment



As is readily evident, the whole control procedure is executed using data communications with appropriate signaling devices (modems) and other needed equipment located at both the Master Computer and the data device locations. Required data transmission rates need not be significantly large. On the other hand, in the industrial environment reliability requirements are quite stringent. This is so regardless of whether reliability is measured by either BER or link up-time or some other parameter. The consequences of an unreliable data communications link may be a mere annoyance when it comes to office communications. However, consequences may be catastrophic in a manufacturing operation. Literally, an unreliable link could close down a whole plant.

Generally, the type of situation described above leads the data communications in the industrial environment to follow an inherently hierarchical architecture. This type of architecture is shown in Figure 5-2. The Master Computer is located near a communications closet. The modems and/or other communications equipment (e.g., surge suppressors, isolators, interface converters) needed by the Master Computer to effect links to the data devices are usually rack-mounted in a card cage placed in the communications closet. Cabling then extends out from the card cage to the individual data devices. At the data device end the matching communications equipment may either be stand-alone or DIN Rail mounted. With the latter, the communications equipment snap onto a rail mounted on a wall or mounted on some convenient cabinet near the data device. DIN Rail mounting will be discussed in greater detail toward the end of this chapter.

 

Figure 5-2: Data communications architecture usually found in the industrial environment



It is important to note that this is the general case not the absolute case. If the Master Computer has just 1 or a few ports there may be no need for a card cage. All data communications equipment may then be of the stand-alone type.

There are several topologies associated with this type of hierarchical architecture. The topology could be a star with a cable extending out from the card cage hub to each data device. Each ray of the star is simultaneously operating as data communications link. The topology could be a multi-dropped daisy chain, using the RS-485 interface standard. This is particularly suited to a polling, query-response, data communications scheme - the type of communications being carried out by the Master Computer. The topology could even be a broadcast bus, the type used by an Ethernet LAN.

5.2 The Problem of Interference

In considering data communications in the industrial environment a key concern is the problem of interference. This is an underlying concern regardless of whether or not the architecture is hierarchical or not and regardless of what topology is employed.

From an interference point of view the manufacturing facility represents a stressed environment. The presence of high current equipment such as the automated tools results in the propagation of electromagnetic pulses that interfere with the data communications links. Proper grounding is always difficult in the industrial environment. Ground loops and resulting ground currents can cause transmitted data to be demodulated in error.

In the past, UTP copper cable was the transmission medium of choice for the industrial environment. Why? Principally, because of there was a lot of experience in dealing with it. There are a number of different ways of handling the problem of intense interference when UTP copper cable is employed in this environment. Sponges can be inserted into a data communications link to protect against surges. Isolators can be inserted into a data communications link to protect against ground loops. Single ended serial communications can be replaced with serial communications employing differential signaling based upon the RS-422 standard. Differential signaling, with sufficient balance, allows electromagnetic interference of the type prevalent on the factory floor, to cancel itself during the data communications reception.

But what about fiber optic cable as the Transmission Medium, doesn't this have great interference protection? Good point! If fiber optic cable is employed in the industrial environment concerns about interference can vanish. This Transmission Medium is simply not affected by the electromagnetic interference plaguing the factory floor. Furthermore, there is a side benefit. It was mentioned that data transmission rate requirements are usually modest. However, this may not always be so. Using fiber optic cable eliminates the concern about future bandwidth needs.

Fiber optic cable as a Transmission Medium has been slow in coming to the industrial environment. This has been principally due to cost. However, this is changing as the price of fiber optic cable steadily decreases.

There are two possible ways by which fiber optic cable based data communications may be introduced into a given manufacturing facility. In the first way, a fiber optic cable based network may be introduced from the ground up. In other words, it is installed where no network previously existed in the facility. In the second way, fiber optic cabling may be patched into a network already installed, a pre-existing network that was based on UTP copper cable.

Today, if you are considering installing a network from the ground up then you are talking about installing an Ethernet LAN with a fiber optic cable Transmission Medium. In the past, token ring LANs were quite popular in factory settings. They guaranteed maximum transmission delays and were matched to polling techniques. However, lately Ethernet has come to dominate even the industrial environment. Furthermore, there is the advantage of being able to bridge the factory floor LAN to other Ethernet based LANs in your organization.

If you are installing fiber optic cable by patching into a pre-existing UTP copper based network then you must deal with the different types of data interfaces that may exist in that network. These data interfaces may include RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485. Electrical representations of data from/to these interfaces have to be converted to/from light pulses traveling down fiber optic cable.

5.3 Fiber Optic Data Communications Products that Can Help

Telebyte offers a number of different products that are well suited to providing data communications in the industrial environment. These products are particularly well suited to the second approach described above, the case where a fiber optic cable capability is being patched into a previously existing UTP copper cable network. Several of these will now be described now.

The fiber optic cable multiplexer discussed in Chapter 3 and the Ethernet LAN Extenders discussed in Chapter 4 can be also be used to implement data communications on the factory floor. A multiplexer can be used to allow the Master Computer to reach to different automated tools/sensors/monitors with a single fiber optic cable. However, the cost saving that they can realize depends upon how the tools/sensors/monitors are clustered. The LAN Extenders can be used to realize a total Ethernet LAN approach to the problem of data communications in this environment.


Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver

 

 

Figure 5-3: Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver



The Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver is a short haul modem that employs an RS-232 data interface and transmits the data onto a fiber optic cable. This modem provides  full duplex, asynchronous, data communications over two fiber optic cables. The length of the fiber optic cable can be up to 2 km and the data rate as high as 56 KBPS. Performance of the unit is optimized for 62.5/125-fiber optic cable. However, the modem can also be used with fiber optic cable having other dimensions.

The operating power for the Model 271 Fiber optic Auto Powered Line Driver is derived from the transmit data line. This is a real convenience when an electrical outlet is not readily available. The Model 271 is equipped with a DTE/DCE switch that reverses pins 2 and 3 of the RS-232 connector. This allows the modem to support terminals, printers, computers or any other RS-232 based device. The fiber port of the unit employs ST connectors.

One application of the Model 271 is illustrated in Figure 5-4. Notice while this application deals with the factory environment there is no card cage shown. Rather, the application deals with the situation where there is the need for a data communication link between a mini-computer located in the front office of a company and a PC located on the company's factory floor. Both the front office and the factory floor are in the same building.

 

Figure 5-4: Example application for the Model 271



Data communications carried out strictly in the front office may be quite reliable over UTP copper cable. However, in this application the data link traverses the boundary to the factory floor. Consequently, there is a need for the extra reliability provided by fiber optic cable.

Model 272A RS-422 to Fiber Optic Converter

The Model 272A provides the capability of performing an interface conversion between full duplex, RS-422 signals and their equivalent for fiber optic transmission. For applications where the transmission medium must be protected from electrical interference, lightning, atmospheric conditions or chemical corrosion fiber optics is the perfect solution. The Model 272A RS-422 to Fiber Optic Line Driver handles full duplex data rates to 2.5 MBPS. The electrical interface to the RS-422 port is fully differential for transmit and receive data and is implemented in an industry standard DB25 connector. The fiber optic ports are implemented using the industry standard ST connectors. The design has been optimized for 62.5/125 micron fiber cable, however other sizes may be used. The optical signal wavelength is approximately 850nm. The optical power budget for the Model 272A is 12 dB. In normal applications the distance between a pair of Model 272A's will be at least 2 km (6,600 ft). Power to operate the Model 272A is supplied by a small, wall mounted, 9 Volt AC transformer and line cord.

 

Figure 5-5: Model 272A RS-422 to Fiber Optic Converter



One application of the Model 272A is illustrated in Figure 5-6. This is a simple case of a single data communications link being required on the factory floor. To avoid complexities there is no card cage although the extrapolation to one is quite easy for the reader to see. The link is between a PC and an Intelligent Machine Controller. Previously, the link was using RS-422 signaling for protection. Consequently, the data interfaces of both the PC and the Intelligent Machine Controller have RS-422 implemented with DB25 connectors. The Model 272A is placed at both ends of the link and allows the data communications to proceed using fiber optic cable with its much greater protection from interference.

 

Figure 5-6: Example application for the Model 272A



Model 276A - RS-485 to Fiber Optic Converter

The Model 276A RS-485 to Fiber Optic Line Converter accepts half-duplex data at rates up to 1 MBPS through an RS-485 interface. It then transmits this data onto a fiber optic cable. Likewise the unit is able to receive data from a fiber optic cable and send it to a device through an RS-485 interface. The RS-485 interface used by this model  is balanced and implemented in a female DB25 connector.

 

Figure 5-7: Model 276A - RS-485 Fiber Optic Converter



The network architect specifies the control of data flow in any RS-485 based communications facility. The Model 276 RS-485 to Fiber Optic Line Driver provides the network architect with the greatest versatility by enabling the RS-485 transmitter when data is detected at the fiber optic receiver.

In the Model 276A RS-485 to Fiber Optic Converter the fiber optic ports are implemented using ST connectors. Performance is optimized for fiber optic cable having dimensions 62.5/125 and for an optical signal with an 830 nm wavelength. However, fiber optic cable of other dimensions can be employed. The unit provides reliable communication over a distance of 2 km.

One application of the Model 276 RS-485 to Fiber Optic Line Driver is illustrated in Figure 5-8. This is a situation in which a PC on the factory floor is controlling an environmental control unit and a number of different automated tools. Control is exercised by communicating commands and receiving responses through an RS-485 polling network. However, there is the complication in that the PC only has an RS-232 interface. The environmental control units and the automated tools have RS-485 interfaces. The enhanced interference protection provided by fiber optic cable is required.

 

Figure 5-8: Example Application for the Model 276A



In this application the PC is connected to the Telebyte Model 290 RS-232 to RS-422/RS-485 Concentrator - Wiring Hub. This allows conversion of communications from an RS-232 interface to a grouping of both RS-422 and RS-485 interfaces. We are only interested in the RS-485 ports of the Model 290. Data from/to the PC is converted and is presented on these RS-485 interfaces. Each of these interfaces is then connected to a Model 276A RS-485 to Fiber Optic Converter. The Model 276A then sends this data out on a fiber optic cable or receives the data from a fiber optic cable. On the far side of each of these fiber optic cables is another Model 276A. This takes the data from the fiber optic cable and provides it either to the environmental control unit or to one of the automated machine tools. Likewise, it takes data from these and transmits it back along a fiber optic cable to the PC.

Model 277 RS-232, RS-422, RS-485 to Multimode Fiber Optic Line Driver

The Model 277 Multi Interface Fiber Optic Line Driver is pictured as a stand-alone unit in Figure 5-9. Also shown with it is the Model 8277. The Model 8277 is the same as the Model 277 except that it is DIN Rail mounted.

 

Figure 5-9: The Model 277 and the Model 8277. Both units are the same except the Model 8277 is DIN Rail mountable.


The Model 277 Multi Interface Fiber Optic Line Driver is a unique asynchronous fiber optic modem. The optical interface can operate either by a point-to-point or daisy chain ring, multi-drop, configuration. The electrical interface can also operate in either a point-to-point or multi-drop configuration. The network architect selects the configuration.

This unit is appropriate for factory floor networks where there is an existing mixture of point-to-point and multi-drop, UTP copper cable based links. It can easily convert them to fiber optic operation with the added protection this provides.

For a point-to-point configuration, two Model 277's are connected back-to-back, to form a high speed, full duplex, fiber optic link.

In an optical ring configuration, three or more Model 277's, in all 4-wire modes are daisy chained in a ring. The ring will consist of a Master Model 277 and two or more slave Model 277's. Master/slave modes are switch selectable. The slaves pass the received optical data along with the transmit data from their own electrical interface to their optical transmitters. The Master does not pass the received optical data. A ring of up to 10 Model 277's at a data rate of 1 MBPS can be formed. To extend the optical distance a pair of Model 277's can be inserted into the optical interface to act as a line extender.

This unit can support fiber optic links as long as 1 mile with a transmission rate as high as 1 MBPS. The design is optimized for transmission over multi-mode cable at a wavelength of 850 nm.

The Model 277 electrical interface is switch selectable between RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485. As a result, this unit is well suited to assisting in the evolution to fiber optic cable of existing UTP copper cable based factory networks. Switch selection enables data to flow from the electrical interface the optical transmitter or to be controlled by the Request To Send (RTS) line.

Full duplex, four wire, or half-duplex, four or two wire, may be selected when the RS-422 or RS-485 interface is selected. The RS-422 or RS-485 interfaces of the Model 277 may operate in a multi-dropped or point-to-point environment.

In the half duplex mode, the Model 277 controls the transmit data line on the electrical interface.

The Model 277 is shown in an application in Figure 5-11. Here several Model 277's are being employed to extend link length past 1 mile.

 

 

Figure 5-10: The Model 277 shown in application to extend the link length

 

Model 9271 RS-232 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver


Model 9271 RS-232 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver features a standard DB9 interface for maximum performance and reliability of data transmission over glass fiber, eliminating the need for serial to nine-pin adapters. In addition, it brings effective data communications to manufacturing environments. It can be installed in applications requiring very high data transmission rates, offers resistance to Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), and isolation from lightning-induced current surges and ground loops. The unit employs an RS-232 data interface, can achieve 56 kbps asynchronously and operates in either half- or full-duplex modes over dual fibers up to 2 km in length.

Figure 5-11: The Model 9271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver features a standard DB9 interface

 

The Model 9271's ability to take/direct data from/to this interface without any conversion eases implementation. A highly flexible solution, the Model 9271 has been optimized for 62/125 fiber cables, and is compatible with other sizes as well. It features industry-standard ST cable port connectors, plus a DTE/DCE switch to reverse Pins 2 and 3 of the RS-232 connector to accommodate equipment with different data output configurations.

Operating current for the Model 9271 is derived from the transmit data line, with a power budget of 12 dB when using 62/125 cable. For applications requiring a dedicated power source, the unit can be ordered with a wall-mounted power pack (available as the Model 9271A).

The Model 9271 incorporates clips in the outer casing so that the unit can be securely attached to a DIN rail, wall, table or desk in an organized manner.

This is an appropriate point to discuss DIN Rail mounting in greater detail. DIN Rail mounting is a cabling system that was developed specifically for factory automation. Only recently has it been discovered for use with data equipment. This system is simple and straightforward. It uses a steel channel called a DIN Rail. The DIN Rail has slotted holes for mounting and is normally mounted in a horizontal position. DIN Rail products like the Model 9271 are then placed on the Rail by snapping them in place after which the wiring is completed.
 

CHAPTER 6

SERIAL DATA COMMUNICATIONS OVER FIBER OPTIC CABLE


In the premises environment the most common form is serial data communications. This is the situation where data embarks from the Source at a serial interface and enters the User at a serial interface. Serial data communications is everywhere in the office, campus or industrial environment. It is found, on the factory floor, in the hospital, in the retail establishment and out in the oil patch. This list goes on and on.

In this chapter we consider premises serial data communications carried out using fiber optic data links. Products are introduced that support this type of communications. Some of these products have been introduced in previous chapters. Others are new. All of these products are available from Telebyte.

Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver

The Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver is pictured as a stand-alone unit in Figure 6-1.

 

Figure 6-1: Model 271 - Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver



The Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver is a short haul modem that employs an RS-232 data interface and transmits the data on a fiber optic cable. This modem provides, full duplex, asynchronous, data communications over two fiber optic cables. The length of the fiber optic cable can be up to 2 km and the data rate as high as 56 KBPS. Performance of the unit is optimized for 62.5/125-fiber optic cable. However, the modem can also be used with fiber optic cable having other dimensions.

The operating power for the Model 271 Fiber Optic Auto Powered Line Driver is derived from the transmit data line. This is a real convenience when an electrical outlet is not readily available. The Model 271 is equipped with a DTE/DCE switch that reverses pins 2 and 3 of the RS-232 connector. This allows the modem to support terminals, printers, computers or any other RS-232 based device. The fiber port of the unit employs ST connectors.

One application of the Model 271 is illustrated in Figure 6-2. Notice while this application deals with the factory environment there is no card cage. Rather, the application is dealing with the situation where there is the need for a data communication link between a mini-computer located in the front office of a company and a PC located on the company's factory floor. Both the front office and the factory floor are in the same building.

 

Figure 6-2: Example Application of the Model 271



Data communication carried out strictly in the front office may be quite reliable over copper cable. However, because the data communication link in this application traverses the boundary to the factory floor there is a need for the extra reliability provided by fiber optic cable.

Model 274 RS-232 Single Fiber, Sync/Async Line Driver

The Model 274 RS-232 Single Fiber, Sync/Async Line Driver is pictured as a stand-alone unit in Figure 6-3.

 

Figure 6-3: Model 274 - RS-232 Single Fiber, Sync/Async Line Driver



The Model 274 is a unique short haul modem for use on a fiber optic data link. To achieve full duplex communication it only requires one multi-mode 62.5/125-fiber optic cable. Most fiber optic data communication networks require two cables to achieve full duplex operation. In fact, if standard duplex fiber optic cables have been installed the Model 274 can be used to double the capacity.

The Model 274 receives and delivers data through an RS-232 interface. This unit supports nine synchronous data rates up to a maximum of 256 KBPS. It supports asynchronous data rates up to 38.4 KBPS. Furthermore, it supports two pairs of handshake control signals, RTS/CTS and DTR/DSR.

The Model 274 has operator selectable, built-in diagnostics. These include Local Loop-back and Remote Loop-back.

The data interface to the modem is a female DB25 connector. The fiber port interface is a ST connector. LED's for TD, RD, control signals and loop-backs allow the unit to assist in verifying link operation.

The four illustrations in Figure 6-4 indicate how the Model 274 may be employed in typical applications.

 

Figure 6-4: The Model 274 employed in typical applications


 

Model 279 Multi-Mode to Single-Mode Fiber Optic Converter

The Model 279 Multi-Mode to Single-Mode Fiber Optic Converter provides such conversion. It is pictured in Figure 6-5.

The Model 279 Multi-Mode to Single-Mode Fiber Optic Converter provides transparent conversion between multi-mode fiber optic cable signals and single-mode fiber optic cable signals. As alluded to above single-mode fiber optic cable can transmit data over much longer distances than multi-mode fiber optic cable. Single-mode operation is at a 1310 nm wavelength. Multi-mode operation is at 850 nm wavelength.

 

Figure 6-5: Model 279 - Multi-Mode to Single-Mode Fiber Optic Converter



There are many applications for the Model 279. This unit can be employed as an individual converter. A pair of these units can also be employed as single-mode, fiber optic cable, and short haul modems in order to signal over long link distances. The unit can also be used when the optical fiber type of the equipment is not compatible with the installed type of fiber optic cable e.g., you have a modem transmitting multi-mode signals but the installed fiber optic cable is single-mode.

The Model 279 operates at speeds from DC to 2.5 MBPS over links that can be as much as 15 km long. Since operation at DC is possible there is no signal that can be used to perform automatic gain control. However, the unit allows the needed control, to be executed manually, by a Line Loss Switch.

The Model 279 is illustrated in one of many possible applications in Figure 6-6. This is an application in an industrial environment. There are two manufacturing facilities in the company associated with this application. These two facilities are remotely located from one another. They are 15 km apart. The process control computer located on the floor of one facility needs to communicate with the local controller in the other facility. Both the process control computer and the local controller employ the RS-422 interface. As shown in Figure 6-8 both the process control computer and the local controller have data converted to fiber optic signals using the Telebyte Model 272A. However, these signals are multi-mode. In order to cover the large 15 km distance between the two facilities single-mode fiber optic cable must be employed. Placing a Model 279 at the fiber output of each Model 272A allows the conversion to the needed single-mode signals.

 

Figure 6-6: Model 279 shown in an application where process control computer is quite remote for a Local Controller

CHAPTER 7

STANDARDS


Any network architecture must follow some set of protocols. On the one hand, the set of protocols may be home grown - that is specified by the designer of the network. On the other hand, the set of protocols may conform to a recognized, published, set of standards.

With respect fiber optic data communications in the premises environment there are three recognized, published, sets of standards; 1) Ethernet, 100Base-FX, 2) Fiber Distributed Data Interface, FDDI and 3) Fiber Channel.

A discussion of these published standards is well beyond the present work. However, the interested reader may order them from a number of different sources. Several are listed (alphabetically) below. When calling these organizations it will be worth your while to request a catalog and request to be included on their update services. This will allow you to be kept informed of new standards and supplements to existing ones as they are approved.

ANSI

Sales Department

 

American National Standards Institute

 

11 West 42nd Street, 13th Floor

 

New York, NY 10036

 

Tel: (212) 642-4900

 

Fax: (212) 302-1286

 

EIA

Electronic Industries Association

 

2500 Wilson Blvd.

 

Arlington, VA 22201

 

Tel: (703) 907-7500

 

Fax: (703) 907-7501

 

Global

15 Inverness Way East

Engineering

Englewood, CO 80112-5704

 

Tel: (800) 624-3974

 

Tel: (303) 792-2181

 

Fax: (303) 790-0730

 

IEEE

IEEE Customer Service

 

445 Hoes Lane, PO Box 1331

 

Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331

 

Tel: (800) 678-4333

 

Tel: (908) 562-1393

 

Fax: (908) 981-9667

CHAPTER 8

GLOSSARY

 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W


Absorption - Loss of power in a fiber optic cable resulting from conversion of optical power into heat. This is principally caused by impurities, such as transition metals and hydroxyl ions. It is also caused by exposure to nuclear radiation.

Acceptance angle - The half angle of the cone which incident light is totally, internally, reflected by the fiber core. It is the angle over which the core of an optical fiber accepts incoming light, usually measured from the fiber axis. It is equal to the arcsine (NA) where NA is the numerical aperture.

Active area - The area of a detector with greatest response.

AM - Amplitude Modulation.

Amplitude Modulation - A transmission technique in which the amplitude of a carrier is varied in sympathy with the information being communicated.

Analog - A format that uses continuous physical parameters to transmit information. Examples of parameters are voltage amplitude and carrier frequency.

Angle of deviation - In ray optic theory it is the net resultant angular deflection experienced by a light ray after one or more reflections or refraction's. The term is used in reference to prisms with air interfaces. The angle of deviation is the angle between the original incident ray and the emergent ray.

Angle of incidence - In ray optic theory it is the angle between an incident ray and the normal to a reflecting or refracting surface.

Angular misalignment loss - The optical power loss caused by angular deviation from the optimum alignment of source to optical fiber.

Angular tilt - The angle formed by the axes of 2 fibers to be joined. Angular tilt causes an extrinsic loss that depends upon the joining hardware and method.

APD - Avalanche photodiode.

APF - All Plastic Fiber.

Aramid yarn - Strength element used in Siecor cable to provide support and additional protection of the fiber optic cable bundles. Kevlar is a particular brand of Aramid yarn.

ATM - Asynchronous Transfer Mode. This is a new emerging data standard (protocol) that uses many of the same data rates as Fiber Channel and SONET.

Attenuation - In fiber optic cable, attenuation results from absorption, scattering and other radiation losses. It is usually expressed as decibels per kilometer (dB/km) without the negative sign. Calculations and equations involving loss show and use the negative sign.

Attenuation-limited operation - The condition in a fiber optic cable based communications link when operation is limited by the power of the receive signal, rather than by bandwidth or by distortion.

Attenuator - A passive optical component that intentionally reduces the optical power propagating in a fiber optic cable.

Avalanche Photodiode (APD) - A photodiode that exhibits internal amplification of photocurrent. It accomplishes this by avalanche multiplication of carriers in the junction region. As the reverse-bias voltage approaches the breakdown voltage, electron-hole pairs created by absorbed photons acquire sufficient energy to create additional electron-hole pairs when they collide with ions. A multiplication or signal gain is thereby achieved.

Average power - The average level of power in a signal that varies with time.

Axial ray - A light ray that travels along the axis of a fiber optic cable.

Backscattering - The return of a portion of scattered light to the input end of a fiber optic cable. It is the scattering of light in the direction opposite to its original direction of propagation.

Balanced - Signaling code with an equal number of high and low states.

Bandpass - A range of wavelengths over which a component will meet specifications.

Bandwidth - The information capacity of a fiber optic cable. Precisely it is usually measured in GHz (1 Billion Hz). Occasionally it is idiomatically discussed in terms of the data transmission rate- the BPS- the actual GHz bandwidth can support. In some contexts it is expressed as MHz-km and denotes the analog bandwidth capability of digital transitions per second that a fiber optic cable can sustain over a 1-km distance. Occasionally the bandwidth of a light source is referred to. This is the width of the spectrum emitted.

Bandwidth-limited operation - The condition in a fiber optic cable based communications link when bandwidth, rather than received signal power, limits performance. This condition is reached when the signal becomes distorted, principally by dispersion, beyond specified limits.

Baseband - A method of communication in which a signal is transmitted at its original frequency rather than being impressed upon a carrier frequency.

Baud - A unit of data transmission signaling speed - data transmission rate - equal to the number of signal symbols per second. With binary modulation systems this is the same as the data transmission rate in Bits Per Second. However, it is different with non-binary modulation systems.

Beam splitter - An optical device, such as a partially reflecting mirror, for dividing an optical beam in 2 or more separate beams. It can be used in a fiber optic cable data link as a directional coupler.

Bend loss - A+ form of increased attenuation caused by allowing high order modes to radiate from the walls of a fiber optic cable. There are 2 common types of bend losses. The first type results when the fiber optic cable is curved through a restrictive radius or curvature. The second type is generally referred to as microbends. It is caused by small distortions of the fiber optic cable imposed by externally induced perturbations as, for example, slip shod cabling techniques.

Bend radius - Radius a fiber optic cable can bend before the risk of breakage or increase in attenuation. Also referred to as cable bend radius.

BER - Bit Error Rate. This is the probability that a transmitted bit is demodulated in error at the destination receiver.

Biconic - A connector type which has a taper sleeve which would be fixed to the fiber optic cable. When this plug was inserted into its receptacle the tapered end was a means for locating the fiber optic cable in the proper position. With this connector cap, fit over the ferrules, rest against guided rings and screw onto the threaded sleeve to secure the connection. This was one of the earliest connectors used in fiber optic systems but is in little use at present.

Bit - A binary digit which is generally either '0' or '1.' It is the smallest representation of information in a communications and/or computing system.

Bit rate - The number of bits of data transmitted per second over a communications link. This usually represented as BPS with KBPS standing for kilo bits per second (1000 BPS) and MBPS standing for mega bits per second (million BPS) and GBPS standing for giga bits per second (billion BPS) etc.

Break Out cable - Same as a Fan Out cable. This is a multiple fiber optic cables constructed in the tight buffered design. It is designed for ease of connectorization and rugged applications for intra-building and inter-building requirements.

Broadband - A method of communication in which the signal is transmitted by being impressed on a higher frequency carrier. Also the ability of a communications system to carry a multitude of signals simultaneously. In data transmission is denotes transmission facilities capable of handling frequencies greater than those for high-grade voice communications. The higher frequency allows the carrying of several simultaneous channels. Broadband infers the use of a carrier signal rather than direct modulation, baseband.

Buffer - A protective layer over the fiber optic cable, such as a coating, an inner jacket, or a hard tube. The primary buffer, next to the cladding, is 250
mm in diameter. A secondary buffer of 900 mm is used on indoor cables.

Buffer coating - A protective layer, such as an acrylic polymer, applied over the fiber optic cable cladding.

Buffered fiber - Fiber optic cable protected with an additional material, usually hytrel or nylon, to provide ease in handling, connectorization and increased tensile strength.

Buffering - It is used in 2 contexts. First, it refers to a protective material extruded directly on the fiber optic cable coating to protect it from the environment. Secondly, it refers to extruding a tube around the coated fiber optic cable to allow isolation of the fiber from stresses.

Buffer tube - A hard plastic tube, having an inside diameter several times that of a fiber optic cable, that holds 1 or more fiber optic cables.

Building entrance - Terminal cable entrance point where typically a trunk cable between buildings is terminated and fiber is then distributed through the building.

Bundle - Many individual fiber optic cables within a single jacket or buffer tube. Also, a group of buffered fiber optic cables distinguished in some fashion from another group in the same cable core.

Bus network - A network topology in which all of the terminals are attached to a transmission medium serving as a bus. All other terminals receive all signals transmitted from a terminal connected to the bus.

Bus - Commonly called data bus. The term is used to describe the physical linkage between stations on a network sharing a common communication.

Byte - A unit of 8 bits.

Cable - Alternate name for fiber optic cable. An assembly of optical fibers (the glass or plastic basic waveguide) and other material providing mechanical and environmental protection and optical insulation of the inner optical waveguide.

Cable assembly - Fiber optic cable that has connectors installed on one or both ends. General use of these cable assemblies includes the interconnection of multi-mode and single-mode fiber optic cable systems and opto-electronic equipment. If connectors are attached to only one end of the cable, it is known as a pigtail. If connectors are attached to both ends, it is known as a jumper.

Cable bend radius - During installation this infers that the cable is experiencing a tensile load. Free bend infers a lower allowable bend radius since it is at a condition of no load.

Carrier Sense Multiple Access With Collision Detection CSMA/CD - A technique employed in Ethernet based LANs to control the transmission channel. It assures that there is no conflict between terminals that wish to transmit.

Center wavelength - The wavelength of an optical source that might be considered its middle. One measure of this is the average of the 2 wavelengths corresponding to the Full Width Half Maximum- FWHM.

Central member - The center component of a fiber optic cable. It serves as an anti-buckling element to resist temperature-induced stresses. Sometimes serves as a strength element. The central member is composed of steel; fiberglass or glass reinforced plastic.

Central office - CO. The places where communications common carriers terminate customer lines and locate switching equipment that interconnects those lines. It is the lowest hierarchical level of a TELCO backbone network. It is from the Central office level that local loops go out to end-user customer premises equipment.

Centro-symmetrical Reflective Optics - An optical technique in which a concave mirror is used to control coupling of light from 1 fiber optic cable to another.

Channel - A communications path derived from a specific transmission medium, as for example fiber optic cables. The channel supports the end-to-end communications of an information source and destination. Besides the transmission medium a channel needs to have a transmitter/receiver (transceiver) and a modulator/demodulator (modem). By multiplexing, several channels can share the same specific transmission medium. Channel is synonymous with link. The term channel is usually employed within the context of multiplexing- but not always.

Chromatic bandwidth - The inverse of the Chromatic Dispersion.

Chromatic dispersion - The speed of an optical pulse travelling down a fiber optic cable changes if the wavelength changes. However, any practical light source has a spectral width that is, has components at a number of different wavelengths. This results in a pulse broadening - the time width of pulse broadens as it propagates down a fiber optic cable. This effect is called chromatic dispersion. It can be calculated experimentally by measuring the travel time down a fiber optic cable of light at different wavelengths.

Cladding - A low refractive index glass or plastic that surrounds the core of the fiber optic cable. Optical cladding promotes total internal reflection for the propagation of light in fiber. The cladding steers light to the core.

Cladding modes - A mode that is confined to the cladding. Basically, a light ray that propagates down the cladding. Attenuation is very high in the cladding. Consequently, a cladding mode is eliminated after a few meters.

Cleaving - The controlled breaking of a fiber so that its end surface is smooth.

Club Des Fibres Optiques Plastiques - Club formed in France to promote Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) for a variety of applications.

Coating - A material put on a fiber optic cable during the drawing process to protect if from the environment.

Coherent light or light waves - This is light of which all parameters are predictable and correlated at any point into time or space, particularly over an area perpendicular to the direction of propagation or over time at a particular point in space. Simply, coherent light usually refers to the phenomenon relating to the existence of a correlation between the phases of the corresponding components of 2 light waves or to the values of the phase of a given component at 2 instants in time or 2 points in space. Coherent light does not occur naturally in the Universe. It can only be generated a laser.

Concentrator - A multi-port repeater.

Conduit - Pipe or tubing through which cables can be pulled or housed.

Connector - A mechanical device mounted on the end of a fiber optic cable, light source, receiver or housing that mates to a similar device. It allows light to be coupled, optically, into and out of a fiber optic cable. A connector allows a fiber optic cable to be connected or disconnected repeatedly from a device. Commonly used connectors include FC/PC, Biconic, SC, ST, D4, and SMA 905 or 906.

Connector insertion loss - See Insertion Loss.

Connector-induced fiber loss - That part of the Conductor Insertion Loss, expressed in dB, due to impurities or structural changes to the fiber optic cable by termination or handling with the connector.

Core - The central, light carrying, part of a fiber optic cable. It has an index of refraction higher than that of the surrounding cladding.

Core eccentricity - A measure of the displacement of the center of the core relative to the cladding center.

Coupler - It is used in 2 contexts. First, it is a passive device that distributes optical power among 2 or more ports and this can be in different ratios. Secondly, it is a multi-pod device used to distribute optical power.

Coupling efficiency - The efficiency of optical power transfer between 2 components.

Coupling losses - The power loss suffered when coupling light from one optical device to another. There are intrinsic losses (non-ideal fiber parameters) and extrinsic losses (mechanical effects).

Coupling ratio - The percentage of light transferred to a receiving output port with respect to the total power of all output ports.

CPE - Customer Premises Equipment.

Critical angle - The greatest angle of incidence for which a wave propagating in a homogeneous medium of relatively high refractive index strikes an interface with a medium having a lower refractive index and for which refraction in just possible. With respect to fiber optic cabling the critical angle is therefore the smallest angle at which a light ray will be totally reflected within the fiber and thereby guided down the fiber - total internal reflection.

Crosstalk - The pickup in one particular fiber optic cable of unwanted light from another fiber optic cable.

CSMA/CD - Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection.

CSR - Centro symmetrical reflective optics.

Cutback - A method for measuring the attenuation or bandwidth of a fiber optic cable by first measuring the full length and then cutting back and measuring, again, the fiber optic cable at a shorter length.

Cut off wavelength - For a single mode fiber optic cable it is the wavelength above which the fiber optic cable exhibits single mode operation.

CYTOP® - Perfluorinated polymer trademark of Asahi Glass Co. Ltd.

Dark current - The thermally induced current that exists in a photodiode in the absence of incident optical power.

Data link - Transmitter with Modulator, Transmission medium and Demodulator with Receiver that transmits data between 2 points. When the Transmission medium is a fiber optic cable the data link is a fiber optic data link.

Data rate - Also Data Transmission Rate. The number of bits of information sent per second in a data communications transmission system. It is generally expressed in Bits Per Second, BPS. This may or may not be equal to the Baud rate.

dB - Decibel, a measure of loss or equivalently attenuation. It is computed as a standard logarithmic unit for the ratio of 2 powers, voltages or currents. In fiber optics the ratio is power and defined by: dB = 10 Log10 (P1/P2).

dB loss budget - The amount of light available to overcome the attenuation in the fiber optic data link and still maintain BER (or equivalent) performance specifications.

dBm - Decibels below 1 mW.

dBm - Decibels below 1mW.

Demultiplex - Separation of channels which has been multiplexed in order to share a common transmission medium. With respect to a fiber optic cable medium it is the process of separating optical channels.

Detector - A device that generates an electrical signal when illuminated by light. The electrical current is dependent upon the amount of light received. Common detectors encountered in fiber optic data communications are photodiodes, photodarlingtons and phototransistors.

D4 - A connector type. It is very similar to the FC connector with its threaded coupling, tunable keying and PC end finish. The main difference is its 2.0-mm diameter ferrule. Designed originally by the Nippon Electric Corp.

Diameter-mismatch loss - The loss of power at a joint that occurs when the transmitting half has a diameter greater than the diameter of the receiving half. The loss occurs when coupling light from a source to a fiber optic cable, from a fiber optic cable to another fiber optic cable or from a fiber optic cable to a detector.

Diamond connector - A type of connector.

Dichroic filter - An optical filter that transmits light selectively according to wavelength.

Dielectric - Non-metallic and therefore non-conductive. Glass fiber optic cable is therefore considered dielectric. A dielectric cable contains no metallic components.

Diffraction grating - An array of fine, parallel, equally spaced reflecting or transmitting lines. These lines mutually enhance the effects of diffraction to concentrate the diffracted light in a few directions. These directions are determined by the spacing of the lines and by the wavelength of the light.

Digital - A data format that uses a discrete, countable and finite number of levels to transmit information. Binary is a special case of this corresponding to 2 levels.

DIN 47256 - A connector type.

Directivity - This is also referred to as near end crosstalk. It is the amount of power observed at a given input port with respect to an initial input power.

Dispersion - A general term for those phenomena that cause a broadening or spreading of light as it propagates down a fiber optic cable. This is the major cause of bandwidth limitations with fiber optic cable. There are 3 types of dispersion- modal, material and waveguide. Differential optical path lengths in multi-mode fiber optic cables cause modal dispersion. Material dispersion is caused by a differential delay of various wavelengths of light in a waveguide material. Waveguide dispersion is caused by light travelling in both the core and cladding materials in single-mode fiber optic cables.

Distortion-limited operation - Generally synonymous with bandwidth limited operation.

Dopan - Materials added to a core of a fiber optic cable in order to change its characteristics.

Drawing - The manufacturing process by which fiber optic cable is pulled from preforms.

Duplex cable - A 2 fiber cable suitable for duplex (2 way) transmission.

Duplex operation - Transmission on a data link in both directions. Half duplex refers to such transmission, but in a time-shared mode- only one direction can transmit at a time. With full duplex there can be transmission in both direction simultaneously.

Duty cycle - In digital transmission, the ratio of high levels to low levels or the ratio of on time - signal present - to total time - as averaged over many bit or Baud intervals.

EDFA - Erbium-doped fiber amplifier.

EIA - Electronics Industries Association. A standards association that publishes test procedures.

8B/10B encoding - A signal modulation scheme in which either 4 bits are encoded into a 5-bit word or eight bits are encoded into a 10-bit word. This scheme ensures that too many consecutive zeros do not occur. It is used in ESCON and Fiber Channel.

802.3 network - A 10 MBPS CSMA/CD bus based LAN; commonly called Ethernet.

802.5 network - A token passing ring network operating at 4 or 16 MBPS.

EMC - Electromagnetic compatibility

EMD - Equilibrium mode distribution.

EMI - Electromagnetic interference. It is any electrical or electromagnetic interference that causes an undesirable response, degradation or failure in electronic equipment. Fiber optic cables neither emits nor receives EMI.

Emitter - Term used for a light source.

Encoding - A scheme to represent digital ones and zeros through combining high and low voltage states.

End separation - The distance between the ends of 2 joined fiber optic cables. End separation causes an extrinsic loss that depends on the joining hardware and method.

End to End Loss - The optical loss on an installed fiber optic cable data link path. This loss consists of the loss due to the fiber optic cable, splices and connectors.

Equilibrium mode distribution - The steady modal state of a multi-mode fiber optic cable in which the relative power distribution among the modes is independent of the fiber optic cable length.

Erbium-doped fiber amplifier - A type of fiber optic cable that amplifies 1550 nm optical signals when pumped with a 980-1480 nm light source.

ESCON - An IBM channel control system based on fiber optic.

ESKA - Trade mark of plastic fiber optic cable manufactured by Mitsubishi Rayon Corp.

ESKA GIGA - Graded index plastic fiber optic cable manufactured by Mitsubishi Rayon Corp.

ESKA MEGA - Trade mark of plastic fiber optic cable manufactured by Mitsubishi Rayon Corp.

Excess loss - There are 2 contexts in which it is used. First, in a fiber optic coupler it is the optical loss from that portion of light that does not emerge from the nominally operational ports of the device. Secondly, it is the ratio of the total output power of a passive component to the input power.

Extrinsic Losses - Signal loss in transmission down fiber optic cable caused by imperfect alignment of fiber optic cables joined by a connector or splice. Contributors to this loss include angular misalignment, axial misalignment, end separation and end finish - any imperfect joining caused by connector or splice.

Fall time - The time required for the trailing edge of a pulse to fall from 90% to 10% of its amplitude. The time required for a component to produce such a result. Turn off time. Sometimes measured between the 80% and 20% points.

Fan Out cable - Same as a Break Out cable. This is a multiple fiber optic cables constructed in the tight buffered design. It is designed for ease of connectorization and rugged applications for intra-building and inter-building requirements.

FC - A connector type. It is utilized for single-mode fiber optic cable. It offers extremely precise positioning of the single-mode fiber optic cable with respect to the emitter and detector. It features a position locatable notch and a threaded receptacle. Once installed, the position is maintained with absolute accuracy.

FC/PC - A connector type. It is utilized for single mode cable. It offers extremely precise positioning of the single mode cable with respect to the emitter and detector. It features a position locatable notch and a threaded receptacle. Once installed the position is maintained with absolute accuracy.

FDD I - Fiber Distributed Data Interface. A very high-speed local area networking architecture based upon fiber optic cable as the transmission medium. Many FDDI features were incorporated into Fast Ethernet-100Base-T. FDDI has its own special type of connector.

Ferrul - A component of a connector that holds a fiber optic cable in place and aids in its alignment. It is usually cylindrical in shape with a hold through the center.

Fiber - Thin filament of glass. An optical waveguide consisting of a core and a cladding which is capable of carrying information in the form of light.

Fiber bandwidth - The lowest frequency at which the magnitude of the fiber transfer function decreases to a specified fraction of the zero frequency value. Often the specified value is ½ of the value of the transfer function at zero frequency.

Fiber bundle - An assembly of unbuffered fiber optic cables. It is usually employed as a single transmission channel. This is in contrast to multi-fiber cables, which contain optically and mechanically isolated fiber optic cables, each of which provides a separate channel. Fiber bundles, which are used only to transmit light as in fiber optic data communications, are flexible and unaligned. On the other hand, fiber bundles which are used to transmit images may be flexible or rigid, but must contain aligned fibers.

Fiber channel - An industry standard specification for computer channel communications over a fiber optic cable. It offers data transmission speeds from 132 MBPS to 1,062 MBPS and transmission distances for 1 to 10 km

Fiber loss - The attenuation (deterioration) of the light signal in transmission through a fiber optic cable.

Fiber Distributed Data Interface network - A token passing ring network designed specifically for fiber optic cable and featuring dual counter-rotating rings and 100 MBPS operation.

Fiber optic interrepeater link - Standard defining a fiber optic cable link between 2 repeaters in an IEEE 802.3 network.

Fiber optic link - Any transmission channel using a fiber optic cable as the transmission medium to connect 2 end terminals or to be connected in series with other channels.

Fiber optics - Light transmission through optical fibers for communication or signaling.

Fiber Optic Test Procedure (FOTP) - Standards developed and published by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) under the EIA's RS-455 series of standards.

Fiber optic waveguide - A relatively long strand of transparent substance, usually glass, capable of conducting an electromagnetic wave of optical wavelength (visible or near visible region of the frequency spectrum) with some ability to confine longitudinally directed, or near longitudinally directed, lightwaves to its interior by means of internal reflection. The fiber optic waveguide may be homogeneous or radically inhomogeneous with step or graded changes in its refractive index. The indices are lower at the outer regions and the core is thus of an increased refractive index.

FITL - Fiber in the loop.

FM - Frequency modulation.

FO7 - Plastic fiber optic cable connector standardized in Japan.

FOIRL - Fiber optic interrepeater link.

FOTS - Fiber optic transmission system.

F4B/5B Encoding - A signal modulation scheme in which groups of 4 bits are encoded and transmitted in 5 bits in order to guarantee that no more than 3 consecutive zeros ever occur. It is used in FDDI.

FP-LD - Fabry-Perot laser diode.

Frequency modulation - A transmission technique in which the frequency of a carrier is varied in sympathy with the information being communicated.

Fresnel reflection - The reflection that occurs at the planar junction of 2 materials having different refractive indices. Fresnel reflection is not a function of the angle of incidence.

Fresnel reflection loss - Loss of optical power due to Fresnel reflections.

Fundamental mode - The lowest order propagation mode of a waveguide.

Fused coupler - A method of making a multi-mode or single-mode coupler by wrapping fiber optic cables together, heating them and pulling them to form a central unified mass. By doing this light on any input fiber optic cable is coupled to all out put fiber optic cables.

Fusion splicing - A permanent joint accomplished by the application of localized heat sufficient to fuse or melt the ends of the fiber optic cable. This process forms a single continuous fiber optic cable.

Fusion splice - A joining of 2 fiber optic cables by physically fusing through heat the 2 fiber optic cable ends.

FWHM - Full width at half maximum. This is used to describe the width of a spectral emission.

Gap loss - The optical power loss caused by a space between axially aligned fiber optic cables. For waveguide-to-waveguide coupling, it is commonly called longitudinal offset loss.

GBPS - Giga Bits Per Second - 1 Billion Bits Per Second.

GHz. - Giga Hertz, 1 Billion Hz.

GI - Graded indexes.

GI-POF - Graded index plastic fiber optic cable.

GOF - Glass Optical Fiber.

Graded index fiber - A fiber optic cable where the core has a non-uniform index of refraction. The core is composed of concentric rings of glass where the refractive indices decrease from the center axis. The purpose is to reduce modal dispersion and thereby decrease fiber bandwidth.

Graded index profile - Any refractive index profile that varies with radius in the core.

GRIN - Graded indexes.

Ground loop noise - Noise that results when equipment is grounded at ground points having different potentials. This creates an unintended current path. The dielectric of fiber optic cables provides electrical isolation that eliminates ground loops.

Hard clad silica - A fiber optic cable with a hard plastic cladding surrounding a silica glass core.

Hertz - A unit of frequency equal to 1 cycle per second.

Hot plate - Heat source used to produce a mirror finish on the end of a plastic fiber optic cable.

HSPN - High Speed Plastic Network- a program funded by the US Government to promote plastic fiber optic cabling components and applications.

Hybrid adapter - Device that connects various connector types.

Hybrid cable - A cable composed of both a fiber optic cable and electrical conductors. Synonym for composite cable.

IDP - Integrated detector/amplifier.

IEC - International Electrical Commission.

IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Incident angle - The angle between an incident ray and a line perpendicular to an optical surface.

Index matching material - A material used at an optical interconnection. It has a refractive index close to that of the fiber optic cable core and is used to reduce Fresnel reflections.

Index of refraction - The ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in a material. The symbol for it is 'n'.

Index profile - A graded-index fiber optic cable. In it the refractive index at a point varies with the distance of the point from the cylindrical axis i.e. n varies with the radius.

Infrared - The designation for electromagnetic waves at wavelengths between the visible part of the spectrum (approximately 750 nm) and the microwave band (approximately 30 mm).

ILD - Injection Laser Diode.

Insertion loss - The loss in the power of a signal that results from inserting a passive component into a previously continuous path. Examples of such passive devices are connectors, inline star couplers and splices.

Integrated detector/amplifier - A detector package containing a pin photodiode and a transimpedence amplifier.

Interface - The debarkation point or location on a data device where data comes out of or goes into the device. Examples are the RS-232 interface and the Mouse-PC interface.

Intrinsic losses - Loss caused by fiber optic cable parameter mismatches when 2 non-identical cables are joined. Examples of such parameters are core dimensions and index profiles.

IR - Infrared.

ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network. A TELCO offering to allow computers to communicate through the telephone Wide Area Network at speeds up to 128 KBPS.

ISO - International Standards Organization. This is an independent international body formed to define standards for multi-vendor network communications. Its 7 layer Open Systems (OSI) reference model defines the protocol layers of network architectures which vendors should account for in their product offerings.

Isolation - Also referred to as far end crosstalk or far end isolation. Predominantly used in reference to WDM products. It is a measure of light at an undesired wavelength at any given port.

Jitney - Low cost optical link.

Jumper Cable - Single fiber optics cable with connectors on both ends.

Kevlar - See Aramid yarn.

Kilo Hertz (KHz) - 1,000 Hz.

Kilometer - 1,000 meters or 3,281 feet. The kilometer is a unit of measurement in fiber optic communications.

KPSI - A unit of tensile strength expressed in 1,000's of pounds per square inch.

LAN - Local Area Network. This is a geographically limited data communications network. It is often referred to as premises data communications network. Its extent is usually limited to the office building, campus or manufacturing plant - several 1,000 feet.

Large core fiber - Usually this refers to fiber optic cable with a core of 200 mm or more. However, sometimes it is applied to 100/140-fiber optic cable.

Laser - An acronym for Light (by) Amplification (by) Stimulated Emission (of ) Radiation. This is a device, which artificially generates coherent light within a narrow range of wavelengths. Lasers can be made to operate in a number of different ways. In one mechanism the molecules of some material are put at higher energy levels. When light is then incident upon the material the molecules make transitions to lower energy levels. The correspondingly released energy is realized as coherent light. Lasers are used as the transmitting source for fiber optic cables when transmission distances are long. Laser light denotes light generated by a laser.

Lateral displacement loss - The loss of power that results from lateral displacement from optimum alignment between 2 fiber optic cables or between a fiber optic cable and an active device.

Launch angle - This term is used in 4 different contexts. First, it often refers to the beam divergence of a light source. Secondly, it refers to as the beam divergence from any emitting surface such as an LED, laser, prism or fiber optic cable end. Thirdly, it refers to the angle at which a light beam emerges from a surface. Fourthly, in a fiber bundle it refers to the angle between the input radiation vector (the chief ray of input light) and the axis of the fiber bundle. In this case if the ends of the fiber optic cables are perpendicular to the axis of the fiber optic cable then the launch angle is equal to the incidence angle when the ray is external and the refraction angle when initially inside the fiber.

Launching fiber - A fiber optic cable used in conjunction with a source to excite the modes of another fiber optic cable in a particular way. Launching fiber optic cables are most often used in test systems to improve the precision of measurements.

Launch Numerical Aperture (LAN) - The numerical aperture of an optical system, which is used to couple (launch) power into a fiber optic cable. LNA may differ from the stated NA of final focusing element if, for example, that element is underfilled or the focus is other than that for which the element is specified. LNA is one of the parameters that determine the initial distribution of power among the modes of a fiber optic cable.

Law of Reflection - Angle of incidence = Angle of reflection.

LD - Laser diode.

LED - Light Emitting Diode.

Light - In the laser and optical communication fields is that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be handled by the basic optical techniques used for the visible spectrum extending from the near ultraviolet region of approximately 0.3 mm through the visible region into the mid-infrared region of approximately 30 mm.

Light Emitting Diode - LED. A semiconductor diode that spontaneously emits light from the pn junction when forward current is applied.

Light piping - Use of fiber optic cables to illuminate.

Light source - Source of light, which is usually modulated and terminated over a fiber optic cable. It is typically an LED or LD.

Lightguide - A fiber optic cable or fiber bundle.

Lightguide cable - A fiber optic cable or fiber bundle which includes a cable jacket and strength members.

Lightwaves - Electromagnetic waves in the region of optical frequencies. The term light was originally restricted to radiation visible with the human eye, with wavelengths between 400 and 700 nm. However, it has become customary to refer to radiation in the spectral regions adjacent to visible light (in the near infrared from 700 to 2,000 nm) as light in order to emphasize the physical and technical characteristics they have in common with light.

Link - A fiber optic cable with connectors attached to a transmitter (source) and receiver (detector).

LLDPE - Linear low density polyethylene jacketing.

Local Area Network - See LAN.

Loose tube - A protective tube loosely surrounding a fiber optic cable often filled with a water blocking gel.

Loss - Attenuation of optical signal. It is usually measured in dB.

Loss budget - An accounting of overall attenuation in a system.

Low NA - Numerical Aperture around 0.30.

LUCINA™ - Graded indexes CYTOP fiber optic cable (GI-COF) manufactured by Asahi Glass Co.

LUMINOUS® - Trademark of plastic fiber optic cable manufactured by Asahi Chemical.

Macro bend - A large fiber bend that can be seen with the unaided eye.

Macrobendiing - Macroscopic axial deviations of a fiber optic cable from a straight line, in contrast to microbending.

MAN - Metropolitan Area Network. This is a network linking LANs and other networks at many sites within a city area. Dimensions are usually of the order to 10's of km.

Manchester - Balanced signaling code, used at lower data rates.

Material dispersion - Light pulse broadening caused by various wavelengths of light traveling at different velocities down a fiber optic cable. Material dispersion increases with the increasing spectral width of the source. It is attributable to the wavelength dependence of the refractive index of the material used to form the fiber optic cable. It is characterized by the material dispersion parameter, M (l).

Material scattering - In an optical waveguide it is that part of the total scattering attributable to the properties of the materials used for waveguide fabrication.

MAU- Medium Attachment Unit. This is an active component of an Ethernet LAN connecting peripheral devices with the electrical bus cable.

MBPS - Mega Bits Per Second - 1 million BPS.

MDPE- Medium density polyethylene jacketing.

Mechanical splice - A splice in which fiber optic cables are joined mechanically for example by being glued or crimped in place. However, they are not fused together.

MFD - Mode field diameter.

MHz. - Mega Hertz, 1 million Hz.

Microbend Loss - The loss attributed to microscopic bends in fiber optic cable.

Microbending - Curvatures of the fiber optic cable which involves axial displacements of a few micrometers and spatial wavelengths of a few millimeters. Micro bends cause loss of light and consequently increase attenuation of the fiber optic cable.

Micrometer - 1 millionth of a meter, abbreviated mm. Also referred to a micron.

Micron - See micrometer.

Misalignment loss - The loss of power resulting from angular misalignment, lateral displacement and end - separation.

MM - Millimeter, 1 thousandth of a meter.

MMF - Multi-mode fiber optic cable.

Modal bandwidth - A bandwidth limiting mechanism in multi-mode fiber optic cables. It is also used in single-mode fiber optic cables when operated at wavelengths below cutoff. Modal bandwidth arises because of the different arrival times of the various modes. It is a synonym for intermodal dispersion.

Modal dispersion - The dispersion resulting from difference in the time it takes for different rays to traverse a fiber optic cable.

Modal noise - The fluctuation in optical power due to the interaction of the power traveling in more than 1 mode.

Mode coupling - The transfer of energy between modes. In a fiber optic cable, mode coupling occurs until the EMD is reached.

Mode field diameter - The diameter of optical energy in a single-mode fiber optic cable. Because the MFD is greater than the core diameter, MFD replaces the core diameter as a practical parameter.

Mode filter - A device used to remove high-order modes from a fiber optic cable and thereby simulate EMD.

Mode mixing - The numerous modes of a multi-mode fiber optic cable differ in their propagating velocities. As long as they propagate independently of each other, the fiber optic cable bandwidth varies inversely with the fiber optic cable length due to multi-mode distortion. As a result of inhomogeneities of the fiber optic cable geometry and the index profile, a gradual energy exchange occurs between modes with different velocities. Due to this mode mixing, the bandwidth of long multi-mode fiber optic cables is greater than the value obtained by linear extrapolation from measurements on short fiber optic cables.

Mode scrambler - A device composed of one or more fiber optic cables in which strong mode coupling occurs. Frequently used to provide a mode distribution that is independent of source characteristics.

Modem - An acronym for Modulator-Demodulator. This is a device that carries out both modulation and demodulation. With the modulation function the modem takes information, which is in digital form - usually, 0's and 1's, and represents it by signals, which can be sent (transmitted) over a transmission medium. With the demodulation function the modem takes signals out of the transmission medium (received) and determines which digits then represent, what sequence of 0's and 1's.

Modes - In guided wave propagation, such as that through fiber optic cable, it is the distribution of electromagnetic energy that satisfy Maxwell's equations and boundary conditions. Specifically, applied to optics and transmission down a fiber optic cable a mode is loosely equivalent to a light ray of classic ray optic theory. Sometimes used to denote a light path through a fiber optic cable.

Modulation - The process by which the characteristic of one wave (the carrier) is modified by another wave (the information signal). Examples include amplitude modulation (AM), and frequency modulation (FM).

Monochromatic - Consisting of a single wavelength. In practice, radiation is never perfectly monochromatic but, at best, displays a narrow band of wavelengths.

Multi-mode fiber optic cable - Type of fiber optic cable that support more than 1 propagation mode.

Multiplexing - The process by which 2 or more signals are transmitted over a single transmission medium. Examples include Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM).

NA - Numerical Aperture - The light gathering ability of a fiber optic cable. This defines the maximum angle to the fiber optic cable axis at which light will be accepted and propagated down the fiber optic cable. NA= SIN F, where F is the acceptance angle. NA is also used to describe the angular spread of light from the central axis - as in exiting from the fiber optic cable, emitting from a source of entering a detector.

NA mismatch loss - The loss of power at a joint that occurs when the transmitting half has an NA greater than the NA of the receiving half. The loss occurs when coupling light from a source to a fiber optic cable, from fiber optic cable to fiber optic cable or from fiber optic cable to a detector.

NM - Nanometer 1 billionth of a meter.

NEC - National Electrical Code. Defines building flammability requirements for indoor cables.

NEXT - Near End cross-talk.

NIR - Near Infrared.

NIU - Network Interface Unit.

NLO - Non-Linear Optics.

NRZ - On-Off signaling code.

Numerical Aperture - See NA-Numerical Aperture. This is the imaginary cone which defines the acceptance area for the fiber optic cable core to accept light rays.

Open Standard Interconnect - A 7-layer model defined by ISO for defining a data communication network. It provides means for executing the blue print of the network architecture.

Optical cable - An assembly of fiber optic cables and other material providing mechanical and environmental protection.

Optical fiber - Synonym for fiber optic cable.

Optical fiber coupler - This is used in 2 contexts. In the first it refers to a device whose purpose is to distribute optical power among 2 or more ports. In the second it refers to a device whose purpose is to couple power between a fiber optic cable and a source or detector.

Optical link - Any optical transmission channel designed to connect 2 end terminals or to be connected in series with other channels. Sometimes terminal hardware i.e. transmitter and receiver, is included in the definition.

Optical time domain reflectometry - A method of evaluating fiber optic cables based upon detecting backscattered (reflected) light. It is used to measure attenuation, evaluate splice and connector joints and locate faults.

Optical waveguide - Synonym for fiber optic cable.

Optical window - Wavelength range of a fiber optic cable with a very low attenuation. Fiber optic data links using LED sources work in the 1st window at 850 nm or in the 2nd window at 1300 nm. Fiber optic data links using laser sources work in the 2nd window at 1310 nm or in the 3rd window at 1550 nm.

OPTI-GIGA™ - Graded index plastic fiber optic cable developed by Boston Optical Fiber.

OPTI-LUX™ - Step index plastic fiber optic cable developed by Boston Optical Fiber.

OPTI-MEGA™ - Step index plastic fiber optic cable developed by Boston Optical Fiber.

Opto-electrical Converter - Converts an optical signal into an electrical signal.

Opto-electronics - The range of materials and devices that generate light (lasers and light-emitting devices), amplify light (optical amplifiers), detect light (photodiodes) and control light (electro-optic circuits). Each of these functions requires electrical energy to operate and depends upon electronic devices to sense and control this energy. In a broader sense it means pertaining to a device that responds to optical power, emits or modifies optical radiation or utilizes optical radiation for its internal operation. It is any device which functions as an electrical to optical transducer or optical to electrical transducer.

OSI - Open Standards Interconnect.

OTDR - Optical Time Domain Reflectometer. A method of characterizing a fiber optic cable wherein an optical pulse is transmitted down the fiber optic cable and the resulting backscatter and reflections are measured as a function of time. The OTDR is useful in estimating the attenuation coefficient as a function of distance and identifying defects and other localized losses.

Passive Star Coupler - Couples 1 or more input optical signals coming from fiber optic cables to 1 or more output fiber optic cables acting as receivers. It accomplishes this by using only passive optical components.

Patch Panel - Distribution area to rearrange fiber optic cable connections and circuits. A simple patch panel is a metal frame. One side of the panel is usually fixed. This means that the fiber optic cables are not intended to be disconnected. On the other side are plugs to connect other fiber optic cables.

PC - Physical contact.

PCM - Pulse Code Modulation.

PCS - Plastic clad silica.

PD - Photodiode

PE - Polyethylene. This is a type of plastic material used to make cable jacketing.

Peak Wavelength - The wavelength at which the optical power of a source is at a maximum.

PF - Perfluorinated

Photocurrent - The electrical current that flows through a photosensitive device, such as a photodiode as a result of exposure to radiant power.

Photodetector - An optoelectronic transducer, such as a pin photodiode or avalanche photodiode.

Photodiode - A semiconductor diode that produces current in response to incident optical power and used as a detector in a fiber optic cable data link.

Photon - A quantum of electromagnetic energy. A discrete unit which lends a particle nature to light in contrast to its wave nature. Photons come into play when one talks about energy exchanges using light.

Photonics - The technology of transmission of information using light.

Physical contact connector - A connector designed with a radiuses tip to assure physical contact of the fiber optic cables and thereby increase return reflection loss.

Pigtail - A short length of fiber optic cable, permanently fixed to a component. It is used to couple power between the component and the fiber optic cable used for transmission.

PIN - Positive intrinsic negative photodiode.

PIN Photodiode - A diode with a large intrinsic region sandwiched between p+ and n- doped semi-conducting regions. Photons absorbed in this region create electron-hole pairs that are then separated by an electric field. This generates an electric current in a load circuit.

PIN-PD - PIN-photodiode.

Pistoning - The movement of a fiber optic cable axially in and out of a ferrule end, often caused by changes in temperature.

Plastic clad silica fiber optic cable - A fiber optic cable having a glass core and a plastic cladding.

Plastic fiber optic cable - Fiber optic cables having a plastic core and plastic cladding.

Plenum - The air handling space between walls, under structural floors and above drop ceilings. This can be used to route intra-building cabling.

Plenum cable - Fiber optic cables whose flammability and smoke characteristic allows it to be routed in a plenum area without being enclosed in a conduit.

PMMA - Polymethylmethacrylate

POF Consortium - Over 60 Japanese companies, government agencies and universities organized to promote plastic optical fiber-plastic fiber optic cable.

POF - Plastic Optical Fiber-plastic fiber optic cable.

POFA - Plastic optical fiber amplifier.

POFIG - US based POF interest group.

Point-to-Point - A fixed link secured between 2 distinct nodes or stations in a network.

Polarization stability - The variation in insertion loss as the polarization state of the input light is varied.

Polishing - Preparing the end of a fiber optic cable by moving the end over an abrasive material.

POLO - Parallel Optical Link Organization.

POLYGUIDE® - Polymer optical waveguide developed by DuPont.

Power meter - Device used to measure attenuation of a plastic fiber optic cable.

Primary coating - The plastic coating applied directly to the cladding surface of the fiber optic cable during manufacture to preserve the integrity of the surface.

Preform - A solid rod of plastic material from with a plastic fiber optic cable is drawn or a glass structure for which glass fiber optic cable is drawn.

Prefusing - Fusing with low current to clean the fiber optic cable end. Precedes fusion splicing.

Primary coating - The plastic coating applied directly to the cladding surface of the fiber optic cable during manufacture to preserve the integrity of the surface.

PTFE - Poly-tetrafluoroethylene, a representative of perfluoropolymer by DuPont and manufactured under the name Teflon®.

Pulse coded modulation - PCM. A technique in which, a analog signal is converted to a digital signal. This is accomplished by sampling the signals amplitude and expressing the different amplitudes as a binary number. Sampling must be at the Nyquist rate - at least twice the highest frequency in the information signal bandwidth.

Pulse spreading - The dispersion of an optical signal with time as it propagates through a fiber optic cable.

PUR - Polyurethane. Material used in manufacture of a type of jacketing material.

PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride. Material used in manufacture of a type of jacketing material.

Quaternary - Made from 4 different elements.

Quantum efficiency - In a photodiode, the ratio of the primary carriers (electron-hole pairs) created to incident photons. A quantum efficiency of 70% means 7 out of 10 incident photons creates a carrier.

Rayleigh scattering - The scattering of light that results from small inhomogeneities in material density or composition. This causes losses in optical power. The losses vary with the 4th power of wavelength. This scattering sets a theoretical lower limit to the attenuation of a propagating lightwave as a function of wavelength. This varies from 10 dB/km at 0.5 microns to 1 dB/km at 0.95 microns.

RAYTELA® - Plastic, fiber optic cable manufactured by Toray Industries.

RB - Rhodamine B dopant.

Receiver - In the context of a fiber optic cable based communications link it is an electronic package, which converts optical signals to electrical signals.

Receiver sensitivity - The minimum acceptable value of average received power at the fiber optic cable receiver point, R, in order to achieve a BER of 10-12. It takes into account power penalties caused by the use of a transmitter with worst-case values of extinction ratio, jitter, pulse rise and fall times, optical return loss at the transmitter point, S, receiver connector degradations and measurement tolerances. The receiver sensitivity does not include penalties associated with dispersion, jitter or reflections from the optical path. These effects are specified separately in the allocation of maximum optical path penalty. Sensitivity takes into account worst-case operating and end-of life conditions. In the case of digital signals the optical power is usually quoted in Watts or dBm.

Reflectance - Light that is reflected back along the path of transmission, from either the coupling region, the connector or the terminated fiber optic cable.

Reflection - The abrupt change in direction of light as it travels from one material to a dissimilar material. Some of the reflected power gets transmitted back to the source.

Refraction - The bending of a beam of light at an interface between 2 dissimilar media or a medium whose refractive index is a continuous function of position (i.e. a graded index medium).

Refractive Index - The ratio of the velocity of light in a vacuum to its velocity in the medium. It is a synonym of index of refraction. Its symbol in 'n.'

Regenerative repeater - A repeater designed for digital transmission that both amplifies and reshapes the signal. Sometimes called regenerator.

Repeater - An optoelectronic device that amplifies or boosts a signal. Basically, it returns a signal to its original strength.

Responsivity - The ratio of a photodetector's electrical output to its optical input in Amperes/Watt.

Return loss - Same as reflectance.

Return reflection - Reflected optical energy that propagates backward to the source in a fiber optic cable.

Return reflection loss - The attenuation of reflected light. High return loss is desirable, especially in single-mode fiber optic cables.

Ring network - A network topology in which terminals are connected in a point to point serial fashion in an unbroken circular configuration. Frequently used with a token passing access protocol.

Rise time - The time required for the leading edge of a pulse to rise from 10% to 90% of its amplitude. The time required for a component to produce such a result. Turn on time. Sometimes measured between the 20% and 80% points.

Riser - Application for indoor cables that pass between floors. It is normally a vertical shaft or space.

RX - Receiver.

RZ - Signaling code.

SC - A connector type. It is primarily used with single-mode fiber optic cables. It offers low cost, simplicity and durability. Furthermore, it provides for accurate alignment by a ceramic ferrule. It is a push on -pull off connector with a locking tab. It is similar to the connector used for FDDI but is not compatible.

Scattering - A property of glass which causes light to deflect from the fiber optic cable and contributes to losses.

SDM - Space Domain Multiplexing

Semiconductor Laser - Same as a laser diode.

Sensitivity - For a fiber optic cable receiver it is the minimum optical power required to achieve a specified level of performance, such as BER. Alternatively, it is the minimum amount of energy required by a receiver for successful operation.

Shot noise - Noise caused by random current fluctuations arising from the discrete nature of electrons.

Signal to noise ratio - The ratio of signal power to noise power.

Silica - Glass material, nearly pure SiO2.

SI-POF - Step index plastic fiber optic cable.

Simplex - Transmission in only 1 direction.

Simplex cable - A term sometimes used for a single-fiber cable.

Single-mode - A small core, fiber optic cable that supports only 1 mode of light propagation above the cutoff wavelength. Typically, the diameter of the core is 9-10 mm. Dispersion and power loss through the cable walls are low with this type of cable. It is proper for long distance transmission.

SMA - A connector type. This was the predecessor of the ST connector. It features a threaded cap and housing. The use of the SMA connector has decreased markedly in recent years being replaced by the ST and SC connectors.

SNR, S/N - Signal to noise ratio. Usually expressed in dB.

Soliton - An optical pulse that does not suffer dispersion as it propagates over a distance.

SONET - Synchronous Optical Network. An international standard for fiber optic cable based telephony.

Source - There is 2 possibilities. First, it is a generator of information or data. Secondly, within the context of fiber optics it is a light emitter, either an LED or laser diode, for a fiber optic cable based link.

Spectral attenuation - Measure for the attenuation in dependence on wavelength.

Spectral bandwidth (Between half power points) - It is the wavelength interval in which a radiated spectral quantity is not less than half its maximum value. It is a measure of the extent of the spectrum. For a light source typical spectral widths are 20 to 60 nm for a LED and 2 to 5 nm for a laser diode.

Spectral width - The measure of the wavelength extent of a spectrum. It is usually based upon the 50% intensity points. When referring to the spectral width of sources, typical spectral widths are 20 to 60 nm for a LED and 2 to 5 nm for a laser diode.

Splice - An interconnection method for joining the ends of 2 fiber optic cables in a permanent or semi-permanent fashion. Thermal fusing may carry out splicing or it may be mechanical.

Splicing - The permanent joining of fiber optic cable ends to identical or similar fiber optic cables without using a connector. See also Fusion splicing and Mechanical splicing.

Splice box - Housing for 1 or more splice organizers. The changeable front panel can be equipped with different connector plugs.

Splice closure - A container used to organize and protect splice trays.

Splice organizer - An organizer panel that holds up to 12 splices with splice protectors and sufficient loops.

ST - A keyed bayonet connector type similar to a BNC connector. It is used for both multi-mode and single-mode fiber optic cables. Its use is wide spread. It has the ability both to be inserted into and removed from a fiber optic cable both quickly and easily. Method of location is also easy. There are 2 versions ST and ST-II. These are keyed and spring loaded. They are a push in and twist type.

Star coupler - A coupler for a fiber optic cable in which power at any input port is distributed to all output ports.

Star network - A network in which all terminals is connected through a single point, such as a star coupler.

Steady state - Equilibrium mode distribution.

Step index fiber - A fiber optic cable, either multi-mode or single-mode, in which the core refractive index is uniform throughout so that a sharp step in refractive index occurs at the core-to-cladding interface.

Step index profile - A refractive index profile in which the refractive index changes abruptly from the value n1 to n2 at the core cladding interface.

Strength member - That part of a fiber optic cable composed of Kevlar Aramid yarn, steel strands or fiberglass filaments that increases the tensile strength of the cable.

Stripping - Removing the coating from a fiber optic cable.

Tap loss - In a fiber optic cable coupler is the ratio of power at the tap port to the power at the input port.

Tap port - In a fiber optic cable coupler in which the splitting ratio between output ports is not equal it is the output port containing the lesser power.

TDM - Time Division Multiplexing.

Tee coupler - A 3 port optical coupler.

10Base-F - A fiber optic cable based version of an IEEE 802.3 network.

10Base-FB - That portion of a 10Base-F network that defines the requirements for the fiber optic cable backbone network.

10Base-FL - That portion of a 10Base-F network that defines the fiber optic cable link between a concentrator and a station.

10Base-FP - That portion of a 10Base-F network that defines a passive star coupler.

10Base-T - A twisted pair cable version of an IEEE 802.3 network.

10Base-2 - A thin coaxial cable version of an IEEE 802.3 network.

10Base-5 - A thick coaxial cable version of an IEEE 802.3 network; very similar to the original Ethernet specification.

Ternary - Made from 3 different elements.

Thermal noise - Noise resulting from thermally induced random fluctuation in current in the receiver's load resistance.

Thermal stability - A measure of the insertion loss variation as the device undergoes various environmental changes.

Throughput loss - In a fiber optic cable coupler it is the ratio of power at the throughput port to power at the input port.

Tight buffer - Type of cable construction whereby each glass fiber optic cable is tightly buffered by a protective thermoplastic coating to a diameter of 900 microns. High tensile strength rating achieved, providing durability, ease of handling and ease of connectorization.

Time Division Multiplexing - TDM. A transmission technique whereby several low speed channels share a given transmission medium, for example a fiber optic cable. With this technique they share it on a time basis. Each channel is given specific time slots to transmit during and can only transmit during these time slots.

Token ring - A ring based networking scheme. A token is used to control access to the network. Used by IEEE 802.5 and FDDI.

Total bandwidth - The combined modal and chromatic bandwidth.

Total internal reflection - Total reflection of light back into a material when it strikes the interface of a material having a lower index at an angle below the critical angle.

Transduce - A device for converting energy from one form to another, such as optical energy to electrical energy.

Transceiver - A combination of transmitter and receiver providing both output and input interfaces with a device.

Transmission loss - Total loss encountered in transmission through a system.

Transmitter - In the context of a fiber optic cable based communication link an electrical package, which converts an electrical signal to an optical signal.

Tree coupler - A passive fiber optical component in which power from 1-input is distributed to more than 2-output fiber optic cables.

TX - Transmitter.

UL - Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

Ultraviolet - Optical radiation for which the wavelengths are shorter than those for visible radiation, that is approximately between 1 nm and 400 nm.

Uniformity - The maximum insertion loss difference between ports of a coupler.

UV - Ultraviolet.

VCSL - Vertical cavity semiconductor laser.

Velocity of light - The velocity of light is 300,000 km/sec in a vacuum. In a medium it depends in the refractive index and the wavelength.

WAN - Wide Area Network. A network of connected computers that cover a great geographical area.

Waveguide - A 2 dimensional substrate which carries light in channels inscribed in the material.

Wavelength - Distance an electromagnetic wave travels in the time it takes to oscillate through a complete cycle. Wavelengths of light are measured in nanometers (10-9 m) or micrometers (10-6 m).

Wavelength dependence - The variation in an optical parameter caused by a change in the operating wavelength.

Wavelength Division Multiplexer - A passive fiber optical device used to separate optical signals of different wavelengths carried on 1 fiber optic cable.

Wavelength Division Multiplexing - WDM. Simultaneous transmission of several optical signals of different wavelengths on the same fiber optic cable. It is a technique used so that several different communications channels can share the same fiber optic cable.

WDM - Wavelength Division Multiplexing.

WIC - Wavelength Independent Coupler.

mW - MicroWatt.

Bibliography

Bibliography


1. Green, Lynne D., Fiber Optic Communications, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1993.

2. Johnson, Howard W., Fast Ethernet Dawn Of A New Network, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1996.

3. Palais, Joseph C., Fiber Optic Communications Third Edition, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1992.

4. Sterling, Donald J., Technician's Guide to Fiber Optics Second Edition, Delmar Publishers, Inc. Albany, NY, 1993.

5. Technical Staff of SCELT, Fiber Optic Communications Handbook Second Edition, TAB Books, Blue Ridge Summit, PA, 1990.

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